Letter | Published:

Suppressor T-cell memory

Naturevolume 272pages620622 (1978) | Download Citation



MEMORY is a fundamental characteristic of immunological phenomena; it is manifested by enhanced responsiveness upon re-exposure to antigen, and its specificity forms the basis of the clonal selection concept. In collaborative antibody responses the development of memory has been demonstrated in both the T helper (TH) cell and the B cell populations1, whereas in cell mediated reactions such as delayed hypersensitivity, allograft rejection, cytotoxicity and graft-versus-host responses, memory is a property of the T cell subpopulation mediating each type of response. Specific suppression of antibody production by a subpopulation of T cells is now well documented2–4. The importance of suppressor T (Ts) cells in immune homeostasis is highlighted by their demonstration during normal immune responses5 as well as following tolerance induction6. After primary immunisation, however, Ts cells are detectable for only a limited period of time and do not prevent the emergence of long-lived TH and B memory cells. The parallel development of memory Ts cells would therefore be highly advantageous if these cells are to be effective in the regulation of secondary immune responses. Furthermore, the potential value of Ts in the maintenance of active tolerance to self antigens would be enhanced if a pool of memory cells existed which could be rapidly recruited to abort incipient autoimmune responses. The experiments reported here demonstrate the presence of specific long lived memory Ts cells in mice exposed to the protein antigen, human γ-globulin (HGG).

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  1. Immunology Unit, Department of Bacteriology, University of Sydney, Sydney, 2006, Australia

    • R. H. LOBLAY
    •  & A. BASTEN


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