Congenitally athymic (nude) mice of BALB/c background and their littermates were rendered unresponsive to the phosphorylcholine (PC) determinant by neonatal injection of anti-idiotypic antibodies. The kinetics of recovery from unresponsiveness were found to be similar for both groups when measured over a 20-week period. Spleen cells from suppressed, athymic mice did not respond to PC and were able to inhibit the response of normal cells to PC when tested in vitro. These results indicated that a population of specific suppressor cells, which may be responsible for induction and/or maintenance of unresponsiveness, can be generated in the absence of a thymic environment.
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