Spleen cells from unimmunized mice cultured in vitro without the intentional addition of exogenous antigen generated cytotoxic effector cells which lysed tumor and mitogen-stimulated blast target cells in a 5-hr chromium release assay. Effectors were generated in fetal bovine serum but not in adult horse serum, although both serum sources supported the generation of allogeneic cytotoxic cells. No correlation was observed between the ability of a serum source to support and generate serum-induced effectors and its ability to support an allogeneic cytotoxic response. The effectors lysed targets which were H-2 matched and those which were not H-2 matched with the cultured spleen cells, although the H-2 matched targets were consistently lysed more efficiently. "Cold" target cell inhibition studies indicated that multiple clones of cytotoxic cells were generated-including effector cells with specificity for self-structures, and particular alloantigens. Possible roles for the xenogeneic serum in the generation of this response are considered, including (a) the provision of essential stimulating and target antigens; (b) the induction of the expression of neoself-determinants; and (c) the possession of mitogenic properties.
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