Culturing spleen cells for 2 or more days in the absence of mitogenic stimulation results in the generation of suppressor cells that can effectively inhibit the proliferative responses of freshly prepared spleen cells to mitogen or alloantigen stimulation. Suppression does not appear to be mediated by prostaglandins nor other soluble factors produced during the preculture period. The suppressor cell is described as a plastic-adherent Thy-1.2-, IgM-, FcR+ macrophage-like cell. Significant suppression of Con A responses can be detected at suppressor to target ratios as low as 1:100. The plastic-adherent suppressor is capable of terminating Con A-induced proliferation of spleen cells whether added at the onset of the Con A response or added as late as 48 hr after mitogenic stimulation. The suppressed spleen cell population displays an absence of large blast cells and a decrease in surface density of Thy-1.2 determinants.

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