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J Immunol. 1979 Mar;122(3):787-90.

Induction of suppressor cells in rat spleen: influence of microbial stimulation.


The role of the products of prostaglandin synthetase in the suppression of in vitro secondary antibody responses by rat spleen cells was examined. By including cells from both germfree and conventional rats in these studies, the effect of in vivo microbial stimulation on this suppression was also determined. We found that 1) the suppression that is normally present in the spleen cells of rats can be eliminated by the use of glass wool or indomethacin; 2) germfree rats do not display this suppressor activity, and 3) this "deficit" in the germfree rat may be due to a lack of a microbial-induced signal from a nonadherent cell to an adherent prostaglandin-containing macrophage, implying that at least two cells are involved in the prostaglandin-synthetase dependent suppressor effect. It is possible that large amounts of some or all microbial products activate "suppressor" macrophages and that inbred rats behave like "chronically infected" mice because of an inability to regulate their "normal" microbial flora.

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