DA rats treated with hyperimmune anti-PVG serum and grafted with (DA X PVG)F1 heart grafts in which graft survival was prolonged for greater than 75 d were used to examine the cellular mechanisms that maintain the state of specific unresponsiveness found in these animals. The capacity of lymphocytes from these animals to effect or inhibit graft rejection on adoptive transfer to irradiated heart-grafted hosts was tested. Spleen cell populations and the T cell subpopulation separated from spleen cells in vitro failed to restore rejection of PVG heart grafts in irradiated DA recipients but restored third party Lew graft rejection. Whole spleen cells had the capacity to suppress the ability of normal DA LNC to cause graft rejection, but T cells from spleen only delayed the restoration of rejection. LNC and recirculating T cells from rats with enhanced grafts adoptively restored PVG rejection, however. These studies show that the state of specific unresponsiveness that follows the induction of passive enhancement is dependent in part upon active suppression, which is induced or mediated by T lymphocytes. The recirculating pool of lymphocytes in these animals is not depleted of specific alloreactive cells with the capacity to initiate and effect rejection. Thus, these animals' unresponsiveness is not like that found in transplantation tolerance induced in neonatal rats, but is, in part, due to a suppressor response that can inhibit normal alloreactive cells' capacity to initiate and effect rejection.

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