Splenic lymphocytes from chickens infected with reticuloendotheliosis virus (REV) are suppressed in their ability to undergo PHA-induced blastogenesis. This suppression can be detected within 72 hr after virus injection and requires active viral infection since i.p. or i.v. injection of UV-inactivated REV does not result in inhibition of the blastogenic response. Suppressor cells from the spleens of REV-infected birds severely inhibit the ability of spleen cells from uninfected chickens to respond to PHA at a ratio of 1:20, suggesting that each suppressor cell may be capable of suppressing more than one target cell. Contact between suppressor and target cells is required for the rapid inhibition of the normal PHA response. The suppressive mechanism is cytostatic in nature, and apparently of host origin since neither REV, nor REV-infected (or transformed) cells mediate the suppression. The ability of the suppressor cells to impair the blastogenic response of spleen cells is sensitive to trypsin, suggesting that an inhibitory protein is exposed on the surface of the suppressor cells.

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