A regulatory role is proposed for the antigen-responsive B cell, as suppressor-inducer of feedback control during the secondary response in vivo. In a double adoptive transfer of memory cells primed to a thymus-dependent antigen from one irradiated host to another, antigen-specific suppressors are generated after a critical time in the primary recipient, able to entirely ablate a secondary anti-hapten response. Positive cell selection in the fluorescence-activated cell sorter confirmed that suppression was mediated by an Lyt-2+ T cell; however, positively selected B cells were also inhibitory and able to induce suppressors in a carrier-specific manner: Bhapten induced suppressors in a carrier-primed population, and Bcarrier induced suppressors in a hapten-carrier population. At the peak of the antibody response in the primary host, memory B cells and their progeny were unable to differentiate further to plasma cells due to their intrinsic suppressor-inducer activity, but this autoregulatory circuit could be severed by adoptive transfer to carrier-primed, X-irradiated recipients.

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