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In general, mitogen-triggered suppressor T cells are not specific in their action for the activating mitogen. For example, SPA-triggered suppressor T cells are able to suppress the PWM-induced generation of immunoglobulin-secreting cells. Thus, in summary, each of the T helper cell-dependent polyclonal activators of B cells appears to be capable of activating prosuppressor T cells into effectors of suppression in addition to their capacity to function as inducer cells for B-cell maturation. The net effect depends on the balance between the antagonistic regulatory T cell functions activated by a particular agent.

6 x lo6)were added to a constant number of B cells (2 x lo5cells). We have made a number of ob- POLYCLONAL B-CELL ACTIVATORS 25 servations that support the view that the inhibition of immunoglobulin synthesis in PWM-stimulated cultures at high T:B cell ratios reflects the activation of prosuppressor cells within the T cell population into effectors of suppression. Irradiation of the T cells with 2000 R prior to coculture with the B cells and PWM, prevented the inhibition of immunoglobulin synthesis at high T:B ratios (Fig.

Common variable immunodeficiency is a heteroge- 42 THOMAS A. W A L D M A ” AND SAMUEL BRODER neous group of disorders characterized by hypogammaglobulinemia and an increased incidence of infections but variable patterns of clinical manifestations. Clearly the patients are also heterogeneous in terms of the basic pathogenic mechanisms that lead to the defect in immunoglobulin synthesis. The majority of patients appear to have intrinsic defects in their B cell-plasma cell system, but other subsets have abnormalities of helper T cells or of the system of suppressor cells.

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