The in vitro antibody response of spleen cells from B10 strain mice is not suppressed by factor preparations made by primed Ly-2 T cells, although these preparations can suppress the in vitro antibody response of spleen cells from other mouse strains (1-3)2. The factor preparations from Ly-2 cells contain at least two separable activities: one that acts as a suppressor moiety (Ly-2 T cell suppressor factor [Ly-2 TsF]) and a second factor that acts as an inducer of contrasuppression (Ly-2 TcsiF); the latter initiates a series of cellular interactions that leads to the inhibition of suppression that we refer to as contrasuppression. Removal of components (either cellular or humoral) of the contrasuppressor circuit makes spleen cells from B10 strain mice as easily suppressible as are those of other mouse strains. Thus, removal of the contrasuppressor inducer cell and/or its biologically active product with the use of an anit-J serum, or removal of the functional acceptor of the inducer cell with the same or other (Ly-2; Qa-1) antisera breaks the B10 suppressor barrier. Contrasuppressive activity. but not helper activity can be eluted from anit-I-J immunoabsorbents. The addition of B10 T cells to either B6 or B10 spleen cell culture deprived of acceptor cells for the TcsiF reconstitutes contrasuppression more efficiently than does the addition of C57BL/6 T cells. Ly-2 TcsiF is more cross-reactive than is Ly-2 TsF so that absorption of factor preparations from sheep erythrocyte-primed Ly-2 cells with horse erythrocytes also breaks the B10 suppressor barrier. The hyperresponsiveness of splenic T cells from B10 strains to Ly-2 TcsiF may be an in vitro exaggeration of a normal in vivo process. Thus it is possible that one can take advantage of this unusual situation to help dissect out the cellular and subcellular components of T cell circuits that moldulate sensitivity to immunoregulatory signals.

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