Spleen cells from normal CBA/J mice or mice infected with Schistosoma mansoni were exposed for 48 to 72 hr to either concanavalin A (Con A), soluble egg antigen (SEA), or soluble worm antigenic preparation (SWAP), treated with mitomycin C to prevent further DNA synthesis, and admixed with either normal or sensitized syngeneic spleen cells exposed to a concentration gradient of phytohemagglutinin (PHA) or SEA, respectively. Both nonspecific (by Con A) and “antigen-specific” (by SEA and SWAP in infected mice only) induction of suppression was observed when using PHA-induced blastogenesis as the final assay. The number of mice with inducible splenic suppressive activity and the degree of PHA suppression induced by exposure to SEA appeared to decline between 8 and 20 weeks of infection. In contrast, when the response of spleen cells from mice infected for 8 weeks to SEA served as the final assay, strong suppressive activity was induced from the spleen cells of all chronically infected mice (20 weeks of infection). This model permits parallel analysis of the induction of suppressor activity by nonspecific and schistosome antigen-specific signals during the course of this chronic, immunoregulated condition, schistosomiasis mansoni.

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This work was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIAID, Grant AI 11289) under the auspices of the United States-Japan Cooperative Medical Science Program and the Research and Development Service of the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn. 37203.

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