A Disquisition on Suppressor T Cells

Transplant Rev. 1975;26:170-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065x.1975.tb00179.x.


The main points that I have put forth are that: (1) suppressor T cell activity cannot be explained as simply being too much help; (2) feedback signals from target cells are of crucial importance in determining and maintaining the activity of suppressor T cells; (3) whenever T cells are triggered by antigen, suppression occurs. Immune responses only occur when countermanding signals are also generated. Both intrinsic and extrinsic adjuvanticity is the operational production of countermanding signals; (4) memory T cells are qualitatively different from normal T cells in their sensitivity to feedback signals and also in their susceptibility to suppression; (5) mature thymus dependent B cells cannot be rendered tolerant by the direct action of antigen, while immature and thymus independent B cells can; (6) the mechanism of suppression induced by exogenously administered antigens and that by normal differentiation products (i.e.: GVH; allotypes), is different; (7) generation of suppressor cells requires or results from complex interactions between subpopulations of cells, making it impossible under present conditions to determine which cell is doing what and to which; (8) further work is required before a full understanding of the importance, mechanism of action and other aspects of suppressor T cell function can be fully understood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Antigen-Antibody Reactions / drug effects
  • Antilymphocyte Serum / pharmacology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cortisone / pharmacology
  • Immune Tolerance / drug effects
  • Immunization
  • Immunosuppression*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Amino Acids
  • Antilymphocyte Serum
  • Cortisone