Splenic T cells from B10 donors were injected into irradiated (B10 x DBA/2)F1 mice. Either 5 or 6 d later, activated donor T cells were recovered from the spleens of these primary F1 (1 degree F1) recipients and transferred to groups of nonirradiated syngeneic F1 (2 degrees F1) recipients. Whereas day-5-activated parental T cells induced the characteristic symptoms of acute graft-vs.-host disease (GVHD) and eventually lethal GVHD, day-6-activated B10 T cells failed to induce acute GVHD but induced symptoms of chronic GVHD. Interestingly, the inability of day-6-activated T cells to induce lethal GVHD could not be ascribed to a lack in anti-F1 T killer cells. The combined results of functional studies indicated that day-6 cells were enriched for alloreactive helper T cells, whereas day-5 cells were enriched for alloreactive suppressor cells. Hence, our findings indicate that acute GVHD and lethal GVHD are caused by alloreactive donor T suppressor but not T killer cells, and that symptoms of chronic GVHD are caused by alloreactive donor T helper cells.

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