Control of macrophage Ia expression in neonatal mice. Role of a splenic suppressor cell

D. S. Snyder, C. Y. Lu, E. R. Unanue

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60 Scopus citations


The control of macrophage expression of I region-associated antigens (Ia) in neonatal mice was studied by comparing responses of neonatal and adult mice to immune vs nonimmune stimuli. Adults generated peritoneal exudates rich in Ia-bearing macrophages in response to i.p. injection of live Listeria monocytogenes, Listeria-immune T cells, and heat-killed Listeria, or a soluble mediator termed macrophage Ia-recruiting factor (MIRF). Neonates failed to respond to these stimuli. In contrast, both neonates and adults generated Ia-negative peritoneal exudates when stimulated with thioglycollate. A neonatal spleen cell that blocked the response of adults both to immune T cells and heat-killed Listeria and to MIRF was identified and characterized. Some of the suppressor cells appeared to be early precursors of the phagocytic lineage that develop into mature monocyte-macrophages. Suppression was apparently mediated by metabolites of arachidonic acid since indomethacin and aspirin in vivo blocked the effect. Similar suppressor activity was found in adult bone marrow and in adult resident peritoneal exudate cells. Thus, the phagocytic line autoregulates its surface expression of Ia in both neonatal and adult mice. This mechanism becomes particularly pointed during early development and could contribute to the lack of immunity during ontogeny.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1458-1465
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1982


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