Recognition that delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) reactions, such as contact sensitivity (CS) in mice, are initiated by Ly-1+ T cell-derived, antigen-specific factors has led to identification of a new kind of suppressor T cell that regulates this initiation phase of CS. Regulation by these suppressor T cells is T cell isotype-like in that initiation of DTH of various antigenic specificities is suppressed, whereas, Ly-1+ T cells mediating the antigen/major histocompatibility complex-restricted, classic delayed phase of CS responses are not affected, nor are other T cell activities. This study shows that these isotype-specific suppressor T cells probably act by release of soluble, isotype-specific, suppressor factors. These isotype-specific T cell factors bind to and can be eluted from columns linked with antigen-specific Ly-1+ T cell factors that initiate CS, and are of different antigen specificities. These T cell regulating, anti-isotypic suppressor factors are derived from Lyt-2+ I-J- T cells and suppress CS-initiating T cells, but do not affect the delayed-acting T cells of CS. This is in contrast with antigen-specific T cell suppressor factors that affect the late-acting and not the early-acting T cells of CS. It is suggested that the antigen-binding, CS-initiating, T cell factors, and their regulatory, anti-isotypic T cell factors are, respectively, T cell analogues of immunoglobulin(Ig)E antibody, and IgE-binding factors, that regulate IgE antibody production by IgE+ B cells.

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