Evidence is presented for the existence of a "switch" T cell derived from a patient with mycosis fungoides/Sezary's syndrome. The serum immunoglobulin profile in this patient revealed high IgG and IgA but no detectable IgM. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from this patient secreted only IgG and IgA in the presence of pokeweed mitogen. T cells (Trac) co-cultured with normal allogeneic non-T cells and pokeweed mitogen resulted in only IgG and IgA PFC, with little or no IgM secretion. There was no evidence of active suppression of IgM. Rather, these T cells appeared to induce an Ig class switch from IgM to IgG and IgA, when co-cultured with mu+ tonsillar B cells. Further evidence was obtained using mononuclear cells derived from a patient with immunodeficiency and hyper-IgM, a syndrome characterized by a lack of IgG and IgA secretion. The addition of Trac cells to either peripheral blood mononuclear cells or non-T cells from a patient with hyper-IgM syndrome resulted in new secretion of IgG, with a concomitant decrease in IgM secretion, whereas control T cells were not effective in inducing secretion of any isotype other than IgM. Isolated Tac+ T cells from Trac appear to be responsible for this effect.

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