In recent years, it has become clear that neonatal exposure to Ag induces rather than ablates T cell immunity. Moreover, rechallenge with the Ag at adult age can trigger secondary responses that are distinct in the lymph node vs the spleen. The question addressed in this report is whether organ-specific secondary responses occur as a result of the diversity of the T cell repertoire or could they arise with homogeneous TCR-transgenic T cells. To test this premise, we used the OVA-specific DO11.10 TCR-transgenic T cells and established a neonatal T cell transfer system suitable for these investigations. In this system, neonatal T cells transferred from 1-day-old DO11.10/SCID mice into newborn (1-day-old) BALB/c mice migrate to the host's spleen and maintain stable frequency. The newborn BALB/c hosts were then given Ig-OVA, an Ig molecule carrying the OVA peptide, and challenged with the OVA peptide in CFA at the age of 7 wk; then their secondary responses were analyzed. The findings show that the lymph node T cells were deviated and produced IL-4 instead of IFN-γ and the splenic T cells, although unable to proliferate or produce IFN-γ, secreted a significant level of IL-2. Supply of exogenous IL-12 during Ag stimulation restores both proliferation and IFN-γ production by the splenic T cells. This restorable form of splenic unresponsiveness referred to as IFN-γ-dependent anergy required a transfer of a high number of neonatal DO11.10/SCID T cells to develop. Thus, the frequency of neonatal T cell precursors rather than repertoire diversity exerts control on the development of organ-specific neonatal immunity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy