Cells of the Lyl subclass generate helper activity in both primary and secondary responses to sheep erythrocytes (SRBC). In contrast, after priming with SRBC, cells of the Ly-2+ subclasses, in particular Ly23 cells, have suppressive activity. The degree of Ly23-mediated suppression is directly proportional to the amount of antigen (SRBC) used for priming. Suppression by Ly23 cells is specific, because Ly23 cells from SRBC-primed animals do not suppress the response to horse erythrocytes, and vice versa. Thus, both cytotoxic and specific suppressor functions are mediated by T cells of a subclass, provisionally designated TCS, which can be distinguished from helper T cells (TH), by their Ly phenotypes. It remains to be determined whether killing and suppression are functionally interrelated properties of a single Ly23 subclass, or whether the Ly23 population comprises two subclasses whose surface phenotypes are not yet distinguishable by immunogenetic criteria.

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