The proportion of peripheral blood lymphocytes with cell surface b5 immunoglobulin (Ig) was compared with serum b5 Ig levels in allotype-suppressed and recovering b5 homozygous rabbits in order to establish the cellular defect in suppression and to determine the relation between lymphocyte membrane Ig and secreted Ig of the same allotype.

In rabbits fully suppressed for b5, the absence of circulating b5 Ig is reflected in a complete deletion of b5-bearing lymphocytes. During spontaneous escape from suppression, the appearance of b5-bearing lymphocytes precedes the appearance of detectable serum b5. During recovery from suppression b5-bearing lymphocytes recover rapidly toward normal levels, but circulating b5 levels remain chronically and disproportionately depressed.

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