A two-way selection was performed in mice according to the quantitative in vitro response of lymph node lymphocytes to the mitogenic activity of phytohemagglutinin (PHA).
The foundation population was composed of outbred mice produced by reciprocal mating of equal numbers of mice from four different colonies. The selective breeding was carried out by mating of mice at each generation giving the best or the lowest response, respectively.
The progressive interline separation produced by 6 generations of selective breeding demonstrates that responsiveness to PHA is submitted to polygenic regulation. The heritability of the character investigated is 0.28 ± 0.08.
The interline separation is also found with another T mitogen, concanavalin A (Con A). In spleen cells PHA and Con A produce a similar interline difference.
In contrast, the purified protein derivative of tuberculin (PPD) stimulated both lines equally, and E. coli lipopolysaccharide gave only a slightly higher response in high line. This finding implies that our selection based upon response to PHA did not influence B cell function.