We examined the in vitro responses of immune lymphocytes to the tumor antigens of the syngeneic rat mammary adenocarcinoma 13762A. This tumor readily metastasizes to lymph node and lungs and is poorly immunogenic. Rats were immunized with a highly immunogenic clone (18A) which was isolated as a spontaneous variant from the parental 13762A tumor. Clone 18A grew progressively in irradiated rats but regressed completely in normal rats. Animals immune to 18A tumor were also immune to parental 13762A. Lymphocytes obtained from the spleen and peritoneum of immune rats were tested for specific proliferation to parental 13762A tumor and clone 18A to determine whether similar cross-reactivity to these tumors occurred in vitro. We found an anatomical difference in localization of immune lymphocytes which reacted to the two tumor cell lines. Immune peritoneal exudate cells (PEC) responded strongly to clone 18A but poorly to 13762A, while immune spleen cells from the same animals responded predominantly to 13762A tumor. After 7 days culture, PEC proliferating in response to clone 18A contained 84-95% W3/25+ T-helper cells, and only 5-8% OX8+ cytotoxic/suppressor cells, while analogous cultures of spleen cells responding to parental 13762A tumor consisted of 60-80% W3/25+ cells and 20-23% OX8+ cells. Immune spleen cell cultures stimulated with 13762A tumor generated cytotoxic lymphocytes which specifically lysed both parental 13762A and clone 18A cells. We conclude that despite cross-reactivity in vivo and in vitro, antigens present on 13762A and 18A tumor cells stimulated different subsets of immune T cells.
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