We have examined the underlying mechanisms accounting for the enhanced in vitro TNP-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) response following the parenteral injection of Syngeneic hapten-modified lymphoid cells. Augmented CTL activity noted following parenteral injection (iv vs sc) of 2,4,6-trinitrophenol-modified syngeneic spleen cells (TNP-SC) is most apparent when limiting numbers of TNP-modified stimulator cells are used in the in vitro sensitization phase. Enhanced CTL responses seen following sc and iv priming is due to distinct mechanisms. Spleen and lymph node (LN) cells from sc primed mice were found to contain significant levels of radioresistant helper activity upon coculture with either viable normal spleen cells in bulk culture or with thymocytes as the source of precursor CTLs in a limiting dilution assay. The helper activity was found to be mediated by a Lyt 1+2- T cell. In addition, Lyt 2-depleted spleen and LN cells from sc primed BALB/c mice could restore the ability of tolerant spleen cells from 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS)-injected BALB/c mice to generate TNP-specific CTLs. Conversely, Lyt 2-depleted spleen and LN cells from iv primed mice provided no measurable helper activity either in bulk culture or in the limiting dilution assay and did not restore the ability of TNBS-tolerant BALB/c spleen cells to generate TNP-specific CTLs. CTL priming via the iv route was found to be completely antigen specific as iv injection of either 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP)- or fluorescein isothiocyanatel (FITC)-modified cells caused no enhanced CTL activity. Priming via the sc route exhibited a unique specificity pattern as it was shown that sc injection of both TNP-SC and DNP-SC, but not FITC-SC, resulted in enhanced TNP-specific CTL responses. CTL T-helper (Th)-cell induction via the sc route was correlated with (1) the presence of H-2 I region determinants on the inducer cells as the sc injection of TNP-modified erythrocytes led to no enhanced CTL responses or CTL Th activity (while iv injection of TNP-erythrocytes did lead to enhanced CTL responses without detectable helper activity) and (2) the detection of both hapten-specific T-cell proliferation and Interleukin 2 (IL-2) production upon restimulation in culture. We conclude that the sc injection of TNP-SC leads preferentially to an increase of specific Lyt 1+ helper activity, while iv injection leads preferentially to an apparent expansion of Lyt 2+ prelytic effector CTLs.
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