Nylon wool-purified T cells (Tn) of two patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia of the B cell type were phenotyped and tested in various assays for antigen-specific T helper (Th), T suppressor effector (Tse), T suppressor precursor (Tsp), and T suppressor inducer (Tsi) function. Antigen-specific Th as well as Tsi activity could be effectively generated. Although phenotypically CD8+ T cells, carrying the receptor for the Fc part of IgG, were present in mononuclear blood cells and Tn fractions, no antigen-specific Tse cell activity could be induced. In addition, Tsp cells were found to be functionally absent. These findings are discussed in relation to a tumor-induced limited heterogeneity within the T suppressor (Ts) cell compartment.

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