Allotype suppressor T-cell (Ts) populations that persist for the life of the animal arise in (BALB/c × SJL)F(1) hybrids exposed perinatally to antibody to the paternal (Ig-1b) allotype on IgG(2a)-isotype immunoglobulin H chains. These Ts suppress Ig-lb production by depleting the supply of allotype- specific helper T cells (Th) required, in addition to carrier-specific Th, for the latter stages of Ig-1b memory B-cell differentiation.

In this publication, we show that specific Ig-1 allotype Ts are induced by perinatal exposure to antisera which interfere with normal B-cell maturation, i.e., by antibodies reactive with surface IgM on immature precursors of IgG(2a), memory cells. Antibodies to IgM (Ig-6) allotypes carried on precursors induce specific suppression for the IgG2, allotype produced by progeny of the target precursor. Anti-Ig-6a and anti-Ig-6b induce Ts that specifically suppress Ig-1a and Ig-1b, respectively. Heterologous (goat) anti-IgM induces suppression for both IgG(2a) immunoglobulins (Ig-1a and Ig-1b). Ts activity in these antiprecursor-Ig-suppressed mice is expressed in adoptive transfer assays and, as with anti-Ig-1b-induced Ts, is rendered ineffective by cotransfer of adequate numbers of T cells but not B cells from nonsuppressed mice. The Ts induction, in contrast with Ts expression, is reversed by the introduction of appropriate adult B-cell populations from nonsuppressed donors.

Taken together, these data suggest that the development of mature B cells plays a central role in the early establishment of the balance between helper cells and suppressor cells that determines whether Ts or Th will dominate in regulating Ig-1b production in adult animals.

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