Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
The splenic mononuclear cells (MNC) of rabbits 7-14 and 30-48 days following primary intravenous immunization with sheep erythrocytes generated large numbers of antibody-secreting or plaque-forming cells (PFC) in secondary immune responses induced in vitro, whereas the splenic MNC obtained from rabbits 18-30 days following primary intravenous immunization generated poor secondary immune responses (few PFC) in vitro. However, these latter splenic MNC depleted of T cells consistently generated many PFC in the secondary immune response in vitro. Furthermore, the splenic MNC of rabbits thymectomized prior to day 3 following primary intravenous immunization also generated good secondary immune responses in vitro, irrespective of the time of killing post-immunization, whereas the splenic MNC of rabbits thymectomized after day 7 following primary immunization generated poor secondary immune responses in vitro. These results indicate that the depressed ability of the splenic MNC, obtained from rabbits killed between days 18 and 30 post-primary immunization, to generate significant secondary immune responses in vitro is due to suppressor T cells. The suppressor cells are referred to as immune spleen suppressor cells or ISSC. It was demonstrated that the suppression by the ISSC is antigen-specific and that the ISSC secrete an antigen-specific suppressor factor referred to as immune spleen suppressor factor or ISSF. It is concluded that the ISSC are generated in the thymus within a few days following primary immunization, that they migrate to and infiltrate the spleen between days 3 and 7 following primary immunization, and that they suppress or down-regulate further antibody synthesis via the secretion, locally of ISSF.
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