Results of the preceding report demonstrated that in vivo treatment with monoclonal anti-I-A antibodies provided an effective means of prolonging the survival of murine tail skin allografts. The mechanism of antibody action was shown to include the activation of alloantigen-specific suppressor T cells (Ts), although the relationship between Ts expression and graft survival was not determined. This issue was addressed in the current studies through a kinetic analysis of suppressor and effector T cell responses in control and treated allograft recipients. Donor-specific delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) and cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses were detectable in untreated A/J recipients of B10.A allografts 8 days after transplantation, rising to near maximum levels by day 12. Rejection in these animals occurred by day 11. In contrast, the predominant cellular response of anti-I-A treated animals for 12 days after transplantation was that of transferable suppression, DTH and CTL reactivity not being evident until day 15, coincident with the decay of Ts activity. Rejection in these animals was observed approximately 19 days post-transplant. CTL responsiveness in the latter group could not be reconstituted by the addition of antigen-presenting cells to the secondary in vitro culture system, nor was the CTL deficit due to antibody carry-over. It is considered that the altered expression of effector cell responses to graft alloantigens is due at least in part to the in vivo inhibition of helper T cell activity by anti-I-A-induced Ts, and that rejection in the treated host results from an eventual decline in the functional expression of this regulatory T cell subset.

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