The T-cell independent immunological responses of naive mice to a series of size-fractionated dinitrophenyl-polyacrylamide molecules were measured. These responses were correlated in vitro and in vivo with hapten number per molecule and hapten density per unit length. We found that to be immunogenic, a T-independent molecule must contain a threshold number (~20) of appropriately spaced haptens of epitopes. We infer that this condition is necessary for simultaneous B-cell receptor binding and clustering. Molecules with less than this number of haptens are not immunogenic at any dose. Some nonimmunogenic molecules are capable of inhibiting the response to the immunogenic ones; this capability increases with increasing hapten density. In order for a molecule to accomodate 20 or more appropriately spaced haptens, it must be above a threshold size. Increasing hapten density in a molecule at or above threshold size and hapten number increases its immunogenicity. Increasing hapten density in a molecule below threshold size increases its tolerogenicity. Conclusions concerning immunogenicity and tolerogenicity of T-independent antigens may not be warranted unless the molecular weight and hapten or epitope number per molecule are well characterized.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1983|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy