The cellular mechanism and genetic restriction of neonatally induced HA-specific suppressor T (Ts) cells have been examined. The in vivo effect of these Ts cells on antibody production, primary B cell proliferation, B cell surface marker changes, and helper T (Th) cell priming during primary responses to HA have been determined. The results indicate that, although antigen-induced B cell proliferative responses and surface marker changes occur in the presence of Ts cells, differentiation to Ig secretion, and long-lived memory B cell production are prevented. Further, antigen-specific Th cell priming is completely ablated by Ts cells, suggesting that Ts act by preventing the delivery of Th signals required for both the later stages of primary B cell maturation, and the formation of memory B cell populations. Finally, in vivo cell mixing experiments using congenic mice indicate that this Ts-Th interaction is restricted by loci on mouse chromosome 12.

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