Tuberculin Hypersensitivity: Studies with Radioactive Antigen and Mononuclear Cells

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Science  08 Feb 1963:
Vol. 139, Issue 3554, pp. 487-490
DOI: 10.1126/science.139.3554.487


The type and fate of mononuclear cells of guinea pigs hypersensitive to tuberculin were studied by means of purified protein derivative labeled with I125 and mononuclear cells labeled with tritiated thymidine. Purified protein derivative labeled with I125 was taken up in vitro by lymphocytes and neutrophils from animals that were either sensitive or nonsensitive to tuberculin, but it was bound more frequently by the cells of sensitive animals. Passive transfer of tuberculin hypersensitivity by means of lymphocytes labeled with tritiated thymidine indicated that significant numbers of radioactive cells migrated to the site where the skin was tested with purified protein derivative only when the test was made immediately after transfusion. Although skin reactions from tests made with purified protein derivative 24 hours after transfusion were comparable to those from tests made immediately, the number of labeled cells at the sites of the later tests was not consistently larger than it was in controls (Histoplasmin reactions). Thus transfused tuberculin-sensitive cells are neither always attracted to the sites of the test with purified protein derivative nor are they required in large numbers at the site for a positive reaction to develop.