Frequencies of mitogen-reactive B cells have been determined in vitro under culture conditions which allow every growth-inducible B cell to grow and mature into a clone of Ig-secreting PFC.
The frequencies of LPS-reactive B cells in the spleen of 6- to 8-wk old mice were between 1 in 3 and 1 in 10 splenic B cells from the following inbred strains of mice: C3H/Tif; BALB/c; BALB/c ν/ν; C57BL/6J; DBA/2J; C57BL/6J x DBA/(2J)F(1); and CBA and A/J. Very similar frequencies are found for lipoprotein-reactive B cells in BALB/c, BALB/c ν/ν, C3H/Tif, and C3H/HeJ mice. No LPS-reactive cells but normal frequencies of lipoprotein-reactive cells were found in C3H/HeJ mice, genetically nonreactive to LPS. SJL mice had significantly lower frequencies of LPS- and of lipoprotein-reactive B cells (1 in approximately 30 B cells).
The number of LPS- and of lipoprotein-reactive B cells in spleen was dependent upon the age of the mouse. Newborn spleen contained approximately 10 percent of the number of reactive cells found at 6- to 8-wk of age. From there the frequencies declined again to drop below 5 percent of the maximal number at ages beyond 11 mo.
LPS-reactive B cells yielding IgM- and IgG-PFC responses could be found in mesenteric lymph nodes, bone marrow, thymus, thoracic duct, and peripheral blood of 6- to 8-wk old mice. Their frequencies were one in three to five lymph node cells, 1 in 50 to 100 bone marrow cells, one in 10(5) thymus cells, and 1 in 20 to 40 thoracic duct or peripheral blood cells.