Mice infected with A/England/939/69 X A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (Rec 31) influenza virus by aerosol develop significantly lower levels of delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) to A/Hong Kong/1/68 X A/Puerto Rico/8/34/ (X31) virus compared to uninfected mice. The suppression of DTH to the hemagglutinin appears to be mediated by suppressor T cells which carry Lyt-1 membrane antigen marker, and not by sy serum antibody. The suppressor T cells for DTH induced by Rec 31 virus (H3N1) infection suppress the DTH response to the variants of the H3 subtype of influenza viruses, but have no effect on the DTH responses to A/Puerto Rico/8/34 virus (H0N1), a B influenza virus or the matrix protein of type A influenza virus. Suppressor T cells for DTH appear 2 wk after infection and are detectable in the spleen for at least 40 d thereafter. T-helper cells for antibody response to hemagglutinin are induced concomitantly with the T-suppressor cells for DTH. Possible implications of the present findings on the regulation of the immune response to viral infection are discussed.

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