The suppressor pathway that regulates the T cell response to p-azobenzenearsonate (ABA)-coupled cells has been studied. It has been found that the ability of anti-idiotypic second-order T suppressor cells (Ts2) to inhibit T cell-dependent delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses depended upon the presence of cross-reactive-idiotype (CRI)-bearing T cells present in ABA-primed mice. This suppressor T cell subset, termed Ts2, so exists with CRI-negative T cells that mediate DTH in vivo. It appears that antigen-activated CRI+ Ts3 require signals from the anti-CRI Ts2 subset to suppress DTH reactions in an idiotype-nonspecific manner. The relevance of these observations to a comprehensive scheme of T and B cell regulation is discussed.

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