The present study investigates the distinctiveness of Class I H-2 alloantigen-reactive Lyt-2+ helper/proliferative T cell subset in the aspect of tolerance induction. Primary mixed lymphocyte reactions (MLR) revealed that Lyt-2+ and L3T4+ T cell subsets from C57BL/6 (B6) mice were exclusively capable of responding to class I H-2 [B6-C-H-2bm1 (bm1)]- and class II H-2 [B6-C-H-2bm12 (bm12)]-alloantigens, respectively. Anti-bm12 MLR was not affected by i.v. injection of bm12 spleen cells into recipient B6 mice. In contrast, a single i.v. administration of bm1 spleen cells into B6 mice resulted in the abrogation of the capacity of recipient B6 spleen and lymph node cells to give anti-bm1 MLR. This suppression was bm1 alloantigen-specific, since lymphoid cells from B6 mice i.v. presensitized with bm1 cells exhibited comparable anti-bm12 primary MLR to that obtained by normal B6 lymphoid cells. Such tolerance was rapidly (24 h after the i.v. injection of bm1 cells) inducible and lasting for at shortest 3 wk. Addition of lymphoid cells from anti-bm1-tolerant B6 mice to cultures of normal B6 lymphoid cells did not suppress the proliferative responses of the latter cells, indicating that the tolerance is not due to the induction of suppressor cells but attributed to the elimination or functional impairment of anti-bm1 proliferative clones. The tolerance was also demonstrated by the failure of tolerant lymphoid cells to produce IL-2. It was, however, found that anti-bm1 CTL responses were generated by tolerant lymphoid cells which were unable to induce the anti-bm1 MLR nor to produce detectable level of IL-2. These results demonstrate that class I H-2 alloantigen-reactive Lyt-2+ Th cell subset exhibits a distinct property which is expressed by neither Lyt-2+ CTL directed to class I H-2 nor L3T4+ Th cells to class II H-2 alloantigens.

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