Recently, we demonstrated that lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-hyporesponsive C3H/HeJ mice show a very high background number of splenic antibody-forming cells with specificity for bromelain-treated isologous erythrocytes. This background level was not or only slightly enhanced by LPS injection. In this paper it is reported that the existing response of C3H/HeJ mice is about doubled by treatment of the animals with cobra venom factor (CVF). This increase is very similar to the LPS-induced potentiation of the auto-antibody response of C3H/Tif and other LPS-responder mice. The absence of auto-antibodies in the sera of CVF-treated C3H/HeJ mice, however, points at a different mechanism of B cell activation. The mediation of the CVF-induced stimulation of the B cells of C3H/HeJ mice by covalent C3-glycoprotein complexes and the need for an additional stimulus is discussed.

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