A new analysis of allogeneic interactions

Aust J Exp Biol Med Sci. 1975 Feb;53(1):27-42. doi: 10.1038/icb.1975.3.


Allogeneic reactions have conventionally been considered as typical immune responses by one population of cells to antigens present on the other. This view is inadequate, since it does not explain many features of these reactions, among which are: (1) reactivity is much higher between different strains within a species than between species, in spite of the much greater antigenic disparity in the second case; (2) a very high proportion of cells may respond to allogeneic stimuli; (3) major histocompatibility differences are not essential for vigorous allogeneic reactions; (4) the responding population need not be immunologically competent to respond to antigens of the stimulating population; (5) the stimulating population must be both metabolically active and immunocompetent. We have tried to produce a model of cell interaction which will account for these and other anomalies, which at the same time explaining both normal antigenic stimulation (through cell-cell cooperation) and allogeneic interactions as examples of the same basic mechanisms. The model is based on the Bretscher-Cohn scheme of cell interaction. An allogeneic reaction is seen as having two stages: (1) Cells come together when antibody receptors on cells of one population combine with antigens on cells of the other. To this extent, our model is the same as the conventional one. It need not be the responding population which has the receptors, however. (2) A species-specific proliferation signal passes between the cells. This is the same signal as is involved in normal antibody induction. Even antigen-receptor bonds which are very weak may result in effective stimulation of one or both partners because of enhancing effect of this signal, and because the antigens involved are probably repeated over the cell surface, enabling multipoint binding. This explains the very proportions of cells which proliferate. The exact outcome of any allogeneic interaction will depend on which of the two populations have antibody receptors for antigens on the other, which can produce the proliferative stimulus, and which can respond to either the proliferative signal alone or to this stimulus plus antigen.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antibody-Producing Cells
  • Antigen-Antibody Reactions
  • Antigens
  • Binding Sites, Antibody
  • Cell Membrane / immunology
  • Chick Embryo
  • Graft vs Host Reaction
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / immunology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens
  • Immunity, Cellular*
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Isoantigens
  • Leukocytes / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mitosis
  • Models, Biological*
  • Radiation Effects
  • Spleen / embryology
  • Spleen / immunology
  • Spleen / radiation effects


  • Antigens
  • Histocompatibility Antigens
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Isoantigens