The effects of peritoneal exudate macrophages on antibody response to sheep erythrocytes (SRBC) were investigated in mice. Peritoneal exudate macrophages obtained from mice injected intraperitoneally with proteose peptone or Corynebacterium parvum 4 days earlier had stronger ability to phagocytize and degrade SRBC than normal resident macrophages. These macrophages suppressed antibody formation to SRBC in vitro as well as in vivo. This suppression was overridden by increasing the amount of SRBC and diminished completely by pretreatment of the macrophages with iodoacetate and partly by pretreatment with 2-deoxyglucose, both known to be inhibitors of phagocytosis, but not by addition of indomethacin to the in vitro culture. These results suggest that the suppression of antibody response by peritoneal exudate macrophages was due to the increased activity of these cells as scavenger cells, resulting in a reduced amount of effective antigenic stimulation, and that it was not mediated by a prostaglandin-dependent mechanism. The scavenger function of these macrophages may be due to Ia-negative macrophages.
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