CD3+CD4–CD8– αβ-TCR+ T cell as immune regulatory cell
An adoptive transfer system was used to examine the capacity of cellular inocula from rats fully tolerant of Ag-B antigens to transfer tolerance to irradiated recipients. Permanent tolerance in these irradiated recipients involved specific suppression of the regenerating immune response. Cells obtained from tissues rich in recirculating lymphocytes were the most effective suppressors. Highly purified inocula of T cells from tolerant donors were potent suppressors in irradiated hosts, but were not capable of direct suppression of peripheral antigen-sensitive T cells.. The role of the thymus in maintaining the complement of recirculating suppressor T cells in tolerant animals was examined after adult thymectomy. Thymectomized tolerant rats did not reject their tolerated grafts, and the longevity of the suppression in tolerant rats was confirmed by showing that adoptive transfer of cells from thymectomized tolerant donors was effective in suppressing irradiated recipients up to 180 days after thymectomy. Cellular inocula from these donors appeared to lose their suppressor function marginally faster than they lost effector function (as measured by their capacity to mediate rejection of third party control grafts). Thymectomy made tolerant rats more vulnerable to the termination of tolerance by challenge with normal cells. Transplantation tolerance is maintained in adult rats by long-lived rapidly recirculating suppressor T cells. The target for the suppressor action of these cells is probably the precursor of alloantigen-sensitive lymphocytes, and the effect of suppression may be deletion or inactivation of the relevant clone of these cells.