To investigate the mechanisms by which T lymphocytes regulate myeloma function in vitro, the effects of regulatory T cells on antibody secretion by a hybrid myeloma cell line were examined. Suppressor T cells (Ts) specific for idiotypic determinants on M315 (IgA, lambda 2 anti-2,4-dinitrophenol and anti-2,4,6-trinitrophenol [TNP]) and MPC 11 (IgG2b, kappa) myeloma proteins inhibit antibody secretion by the appropriate parental myeloma cells. When cocultured with a hybrid cell line derived by fusion of MOPC 315 and MPC 11 myelomas, the idiotype-reactive Ts inhibit secretion of only the immunoglobulin (Ig) bearing the relevant idiotype. In contrast, syngeneic TNP-reactive cytolytic T lymphocytes (CTL) inhibit antibody secretion by TNP-binding MOPC 315 cells but not by MPC 11 cells in the presence of soluble TNP-keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH), and this inhibition probably represents a prelytic effect of the CTL. Such TNP-reactive CTL, in the presence of TNP-KLH, inhibit both IgA and IgG secretion by the MOPC 315-MPC 11 hybrid, which is consistent with a prelytic effect. Thus, myeloma hybrids are a useful tool for investigating the effector function of regulatory T cells. These results are discussed with reference to the mechanisms of action of regulatory T cells and their relevance to modulation of physiologic humoral immune responses.

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