The Murine Humoral Immune Response to Hepatitis B Surface Antigen: Idiotype Network Pathways.
Recognition of a wide spectrum in disease outcomes following Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection has led to the suggestion that individual differences may be due to characteristics of the immune response. HBV, a hepatotropic virus, is not directly cytopathic to the host hepatocytes but the cellular damage which does not occur may be due to the host's own immune response. It is this variety in immune response capabilities following natural infection or vaccination which led to the present study in which the murine humoral immune response to hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) was examined. Following immunization with purified HBsAg an anti-HBs response could be detected in 19 inbred strains of mice. The response, which varied among the strains, was linked to the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Among high responders to HBsAg were two strains in which a poor response to a single epitope could be detected. Although quantitatively serum from these strains resembled serum from other high responders, there was a major difference in the qualitative aspects. Included within this study was the role of idotype networks within the murine anti-HBs response. By directly targeting HBsAg-specific B cells within the framework of an idiotype network by an Ab-2, it was possible to circumvent T cell-dependent regulation of an immune response. In each of five inbred strains of mice immunized with a polyclonal rabbit Ab-2 an Ab-3 population with HBsAg-specificity (Ab -1^') was induced. These mice were also immunized with HBsAg resulting in a higher anti-HBs response as compared to HBsAg immunization alone in all of the strains tested except for one. The response in this strain, normally a low responder to HBsAg, indicated that the mechanisms for genetic restriction of the anti -HBs response was still active, although it was not apparent during anti-Id immunization. The effects of an anti-Id on the murine antibody response to HBsAg may lead to insights on the presence of idiotype networks within the humoral immune response to HBsAg; how the anti-HBs response is regulated; and to possible mechanisms to enhance or alter the human immune response to HBV infection.
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- Physics: Electricity and Magnetism