The induction of tolerance in guinea pigs with a 2,4-dinitrophenyl (DNP) derivative of a copolymer of copolymer of D-glutamic acid and D-lysine (D-GL) leads to a preferential depression of the capacity to produce high affinity anti-DNP antibody in response to immunization with DNP-guinea pig albumin. Thus, immunization 2 wk after tolerance induction with 3 mg of DNP-D-GL results in an immune response in which individual plaque-forming cells (PFC) secreting high affinity anti-DNP antibody are absent and in which the affinity of circulating anti-DNP antibody is reduced. A similar, but less marked, suppression is seen when 0.3 mg of DNP-D-GL is used for tolerance induction. If immunization is delayed until 2 months after tolerance induction, then suppression is restricted to the highest avidity PFC group. Our data is consistent with a state of tolerance in the pool of precursors of anti-DNP antibody-secreting cells induced as a result of their interaction with DNP-D-GL in the absence of specific "helper" cells, which appear to be lacking for DNP-D-GL. In such a situation, the affinity of receptors on precursor cells for tolerogen and the concentration of tolerogen appear to be crucial determinants of whether an individual cell will become tolerant.

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