The major antigenic determinants in ovalbumin molecules (OA) were lost following denaturation in 8 M urea. The urea-denatured antigen (UD-OA) failed to combine with anti-OA antibody, but was capable of priming mouse T cells specific for OA. BDF1 mice primed with alum-precipitated OA were given three intravenous injections of 100 μg UD-OA at 3, 5, and 7 days after the primary immunization. The treatment with UD-OA suppressed both IgE and IgG antibody responses to OA. The same treatment of OA-primed animals with intravenous injections of OA resulted in suppression of IgE antibody response but enhanced IgG antibody response. Intravenous injections of either OA or UD-OA suppressed both IgE and IgG anti-DNP antibody responses of DNP-OA-primed animals but failed to suppress anti-hapten antibody responses to DNP-keyhole limpet hemocyanin. The effect of the treatment on helper T cells and B memory cells in OA-primed animals was studied by adoptive transfer experiments. The results showed that the OA-treatment as well as UD-OA-treatment suppressed the development of both helper function of T cells and B memory cells in the spleen, but the UD-OA treatment was more effective than OA-treatment for the suppression of B cell development. Possible mechanisms for the suppression of the development of immunocompetent cells were discussed.
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