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Cell Immunol. 1986 May;99(2):461-75.

Murine neonatal spleen contains natural T and non-T suppressor cells capable of inhibiting adult alloreactive and newborn autoreactive T-cell proliferation.


The spleen of neonatal mice is known to be a rich source of cells capable of suppressing a variety of immune functions of adult lymphocytes in vitro. From such observations has emerged the concept that the gradual development in ability to express immune functions after birth is due in part to the parallel normal physiological decay of naturally occurring regulatory suppressor cells. There is, however, some confusion in the literature as to the exact nature of the newborn of the newborn inhibitory cell type(s). In contrast to most previous reports which detect only a single type of neonatal suppressor cell, usually a T cell, we show here that newborn spleen harbors both T and non-T inhibitory cells. Both types of suppressor cells could be shown to suppress the proliferative response of adult spleen to alloantigens as well as newborn T cells reacting against self-Ia antigen in the autologous mixed lymphocyte reaction (AMLR). Newborn suppressor T cells were characterized as being non-adherent to Ig-anti-Ig affinity columns, soybean agglutinin receptor negative (SBA-), and susceptible to lysis by anti-T-cell specific antiserum plus complement. Non-T suppressor cells were identified as non-phagocytic, SBA receptor positive (SBA+), and resistant to cytotoxic treatment with anti-T-cell antibodies and complement. The apparent controversy surrounding previous reports as to the T versus non-T nature of newborn suppressor cells can be reconciled by the present observation that both types of inhibitory cells coexist in the spleen. Furthermore, the demonstration that newborn suppressor cells can effectively regulate T-cell proliferative activity mediated by other newborn cells provides more direct support for the contention that such inhibitory cells play a physiological role in controlling immune responsiveness during early ontogeny.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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