The potential role of gangliosides as modulators of the triggering of neonatal primary B lymphocytes at the single precursor cell level was evaluated. Tolerance was induced in splenic fragment cultures containing an excess of carrier-primed T cells. Gangliosides at low concentrations (20 ng/culture) abrogated the tolerogenic effect of haptens presented on carriers not recognized by environmental T cells. The permanent arrest of immature B-cell responsiveness resulting from tolerogen treatment was eliminated by the presence of gangliosides during tolerogen treatment. The active moiety in the glycolipid preparation which protected B cells during tolerogen treatment was separated by ion-exchange chromatography and demonstrated to be in the disialoganglioside fraction.
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