Antigen-specific B and T cells in human/mouse radiation chimera following immunization in vivo

W. O. Böcher, H. Marcus, R. Shakarchy, B. Dekel, D. Shouval, E. Galun, Yair Reisner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Adoptive transfer of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) into mice with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) or into lethally irradiated BALB/c mice radioprotected with SCID bone marrow, leads to marked engraftment of human T and B cells. In such chimeras, human serum antibody responses can be stimulated readily by vaccination with recall antigens, but the detection of antigen-specific functional T or B cells has been extremely difficult. In the present study, we were able to detect by Elispot analysis high frequencies of immunoglobulin G (IgG)-secreting B cells and mitogen- responsive interferon-γ (IFN-γ) or interleukin-4 (IL-4)secreting T cells in peritoneum and spleen of human/BALB/c chimeric mice during the first 3 weeks after PBMC transfer. Moreover, specific memory responses were elicited by vaccination with tetanus toxoid (TT) or hepatitis B virus (HBV) surface (HBs) antigen of chimeric mice transplanted with PBMC derived from TT- or HBV- immune donors. Substantially higher TT-specific B-cell frequencies were found during the first 3 weeks after vaccination in mice challenged with the specific antigen compared to the levels found in control animals. High numbers of TT-specific IFN-γ-secreting T cells persisted in the peritoneum of vaccinated, but not of unvaccinated, animals during the entire observation period, but only low numbers of specific IL-4-secreting T cells were found in vaccinated mice. Similar results were achieved following vaccination with HBs antigen of chimeric mice, transplanted with PBMC of HBV immunized donors. Thus, TT or HBsAg-specific antibody responses in our model correlate closely with the existence of specific IFN-γ-secreting T helper 1/0 cells. Furthermore, these results show that adoptive transfer of human PBMC into lethally irradiated mice provides an efficient approach to generate specific B-cell fusion partners for the production of human monoclonal antibodies and specific T-cell lines for adoptive cell therapy of malignant or infectious diseases.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)634-641
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


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