Anterior chamber-associated immune deviation (ACAID) is a complex set of immune responses induced by the inoculation of antigens into the anterior chamber of the eye. Histocompatibility antigens, tumor-specific antigens, reactive haptens, and viral antigens have been shown to induce this phenomenon, which comprises the following specific host responses: high titer humoral antibodies, primed cytotoxic T cells, but specifically, impaired skin graft rejection and delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH). Using the model system of ACAID induced by inoculation of P815 mastocytoma cells into the anterior chambers of H-2-compatible, but minor H-incompatible, BALB/c mice, we demonstrate that the impaired capacity of these animals to develop and express DTH is due to the activation of suppressor T cells. Generation of these cells requires an intact spleen, is not inhibited by cyclophosphamide pretreatment, and is abrogated by systemic treatment of the host with anti-I-J monoclonal antibodies. This splenic suppressor cell(s) can transfer suppression of DTH adoptively to naive syngeneic mice. One suppressor cell is Thy-1.2, Lyt-2.2, and I-Jd positive. A minority of these cells (or a second population of suppressor cells) also expresses the L3T4 surface marker. Suppression is exerted on the efferent limb of DTH expression, although afferent suppression is not excluded. P815-induced ACAID suppressor cells resemble similar cells induced by haptenated spleen cells inoculated into the anterior chamber of the eye. We propose that induction of these suppressor cells, whose target of action is selective for T DTH cells, but not for other types of T cells, is responsible for the phenomenon of immune privilege in the anterior chamber of the eye.

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