The ability of murine Peyer's patch (PP) T contrasuppressor cells (Tcs) to reverse oral tolerance to the T cell-dependent (TD) antigen SRBC was studied both in vivo and in vitro. C3H/HeJ mice given SRBC orally for 4 wk are not rendered tolerant to this antigen and were used as a source of PP Tcs cells for adoptive transfer to identically treated, orally tolerized C3H/HeN mice. Transfer of 10(4) or 5 X 10(4) V. villosa-adherent PP T cells resulted in splenic IgM, IgG, and mainly IgA responses in C3H/HeN mice challenged systemically with SRBC. The T cell responsible was Lyt-1+, 2-, L3T4-, I-JK+ and V. villosa lectin-adherent, all characteristics of mature effector Tcs cells. This C3H/HeJ PP Tcs cell subset was also effective when added to in vitro cultures of tolerized spleen cells derived from SRBC-fed, C3H/HeN mice. Interestingly, C3H/HeJ PP Tcs cells restored mainly IgA responses when transferred in vivo or when added to suppressed C3H/HeN splenic cultures. Comparison of the functional activity of Tcs cells derived from spleen or PP of orally immunized C3H/HeJ mice revealed that splenic Tcs cells supported responses of all 3 isotypes; however, PP Tcs cells yielded three-fourfold higher IgA responses, when compared with IgM or IgG anti-SRBC responses. Adherence of C3H/HeJ PP Tcs to an Fc alpha R+ T cell line derived from IgA-specific Th cells resulted in a nonadherent cell fraction that potentiated only IgM and IgG responses, while bound Tcs cells preferentially supported IgA responses. These results suggest that murine PP contain IgA-specific Tcs cells that allow IgA response induction in the presence of Ts cells that mediate oral tolerance.

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