Specific tolerance to phosphorylcholine (PC) can be induced in BALB/c mice by neonatal injection with either pneumococcal C-polysaccharide (PnC) containing PC or anti-TEPC-15 idiotype (T15id) antibody which recognizes the predominant idiotype of anti-PC antibody of BALB/c mice. Suppressor T cells (Ts) induced after treatment with anti-T15id antibody react with the T15id and PnC-induced Ts cells appear to recognize PC. A brief incubation of anti-id-induced, T15id-specific Ts with PnC-induced, PC-reactive Ts resulted in complete cancellation of their suppressor functions. However, both types of Ts were present in mice neonatally injected with mixtures of PnC and anti-T15id antibody. Neutralization experiments using either PnC-induced or anti-id-induced suppressor T cells strongly suggest that only one of the Ts cell types is functionally dominant in those mice: most frequently, T15id-specific Ts cells. The suppressor function of the other population is detectable only when the predominant Ts cell population is removed by anti-id or monoclonal IgM anti-PC (SP45) plus complement. However, both suppressor activities are completely eliminated when one of the Ts populations is removed by adherence to either antigen or T15id. These results suggest that mice neonatally injected with a mixture of antigen and anti-id antibody possess both types of suppressor T cells, yet only one type is functionally dominant.
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