Suppressor T cells, activated by injection of trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid in DA rats, prevented rejection of LEW kidney allografts in a donor-specific manner when adoptively transferred into syngeneic recipients along with trinitrophenyl (TNP)-haptenated LEW alloantigen. TNP-haptenated third-party alloantigen was ineffective in this system. The donor-specific suppression was dependent, too, on the haptenic portion of the chemically modified alloantigen. Hence, fluorescein isothiocyanate-donor antigen did not lead to suppression in the presence of TNP-reactive suppressor cells. There is, however, some crossreaction between DNP- and TNP-haptenated alloantigens so that TNP-reactive cells and DNP-donor antigen suppressed rejection whereas DNP-reactive cells and TNP-donor antigen did not prevent graft rejection. The suppressor cells were sensitive to cyclophosphamide and radiation but were resistant to hydrocortisone. They appear to be T cells of the OX8 (suppressor/cytotoxic) phenotype since they are positive for the pan T cell antigen W3/13, are Ig negative, and do not carry the W3/25 (T helper cell) marker. However, these suppressor cells are adherent to nylon wool. They are found mainly in the spleen, are detected there within 2 d of TNBS injection, and can persist for up to 12 wk. We propose that these cells are first-order T suppressor (Ts1) cells that act in the afferent phase of the response to a renal allograft.

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