Guinea pigs immunized with hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), types and , and with two major polypeptides derived from HBsAg/ developed cell-mediated immunity as determined by the macrophage migration inhibition assay. Peritoneal exudate cells from animals immunized with a 22000- or a 25000-mol. wt. polypeptide derived from HBsAg/ showed significant migration inhibition after challenge with either polypeptide or with purified HBsAg. Significant inhibition of macrophage migration was not observed when polypeptide-sensitized cells were challenged with normal human serum or with normal human liver extract. Similarly, a cell-mediated immune response was not observed in peritoneal exudate cells from animals sensitized to normal human serum or normal human liver extract which were challenged with either of the polypeptides. The humoral immune response to either of the polypeptides, as measured by radioimmunoassay, was substantially lower than that observed in animals immunized with intact particles. This apparent difference between cellular and humoral responses suggests that the macrophage migration assay is a sensitive indicator of the immunogenicity of the smaller mol. wt. HBsAg-derived polypeptides in guinea pigs.


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