Active thymus derived suppressor lymphocytes in human cord blood


A FOETUS carries antigens that are foreign to its mother, but the mother does not routinely reject it as an allograft. The fate of the foetus may thus depend on preventing or blocking the ability of the immune system of the mother to respond to alien foetal antigens. Clearly, this is a complex process which may involve several mechanisms1–6. One mechanism implicates the active blocking of the immunological capacity of the mother to respond to her foetus5,6. We reported previously that T lymphocytes taken from cord blood of human newborns inhibits their own mothers' lymphocytes from entering mitosis6,7. We have studied the subpopulations of T lymphocytes in human cord blood and ascertained their ability to inhibit both the division of lymphocytes and the production of immunoglobulin by lymphocytes obtained from the mother. We report here that active T suppressor cells occur in cord blood, that these T suppressor cells bear IgG receptors; and that the T cells bearing IgG receptors inhibit both mitosis of and immunoglobulin production by lymphocytes from the mother.

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OLDSTONE, M., TISHON, A. & MORETTA, L. Active thymus derived suppressor lymphocytes in human cord blood. Nature 269, 333–335 (1977).

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