The effects of the thymic microenvironment on autoantibody production in (NZB × NZW)F1 mice were studied. Neonatally thymectomized male and female F1 mice reconstituted with a parental or F1-irradiated thymic lobe were compared to nonreconstituted and sham-thymectomized controls. While maleness retarded the spontaneous production of ss- and ds-DNA antibodies, thymic grafts did not suppress antibodies to ss-DNA in either sex, but did suppress the production of antibodies to ds-DNA in female mice. A unique property of NZB thymic grafts was the inability to suppress anti-RBC antibodies in male mice. Thus, (i) the gender of the F1 recipient was the most important determinant of production of antibodies to ss-DNA, (ii) either maleness or the thymic microenvironment could retard production of anti-ds-DNA antibodies, and (iii) both gender and the thymic microenvironment were important in the regulation of anti-RBC antibody production. Since the administration of thymosin did not suppress autoantibody production, the effects of the thymic grafts was not solely via thymic hormone production. These studies suggest that sex hormones and/or the thymic microenvironment can exert a suppressive effect on autoantibody production and that autoantibodies differ in their susceptibility to such suppression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine