BALB/c or C3H/He mice were inoculated i.v. with allogeneic spleen cells untreated or treated with neuraminidase. Appreciable or potent anti-allo-delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses were observed when mice were inoculated i.v. with untreated allogeneic cells or inoculated i.v. with those cells followed by s.c. immunization with untreated allogeneic cells. In contrast, i.v. inoculation of neuraminidase-treated allogeneic cells (presensitization) not only failed to induce any significant anti-allo-DTH responses but also abolished the capability of the animals to develop DTH responses after s.c. immunization, indicating the tolerance induction. This tolerance was alloantigen-specific, and rapidly inducible and long lasting. The induction of suppressor cell activity was demonstrated in tolerant mice. However, this activity was associated only with the tolerant state around 4 to 7 days after the i.v. presensitization, but was no longer detected in mice more than 14 days after the presensitization, although these mice exhibited complete tolerant state. When spleen cells from such tolerant mice were transferred i.v. into 600 R x-irradiated syngeneic recipient mice alone or together with normal syngeneic spleen cells, these tolerant spleen cells themselves failed to induce DTH responses but did not exhibit suppressive effect on the generation of DTH responses induced by normal spleen cells co-transferred. These results indicate that i.v. administration of neuraminidase-treated allogeneic cells results in the induction of alloantigen-specific tolerance which is not always associated with the induction of suppressor cell activity but rather with the elimination or functional impairment of alloantigen-specific clones.

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