Products secreted by Streptococcus intermedius were studied for their effects on the immune response. Three different preparations of crude extracellular products from S. intermedius (CEP-Si) were found to have powerful suppressor activity in vitro as shown by inhibition of human lymphocyte proliferation (uptake of [3H]thymidine) and protein synthesis in response to a wide variety of stimulants, including mitogens and antigens, and suppression of plaque formation by human cells in response to sheep erythrocytes. CEP-Si was noncytotoxic, because cells incubated with high concentrations of CEP-Si and subsequently washed were viable and recovered their ability to respond to mitogens, and because leukocyte migration was not inhibited by CEP-Si, nor was the release of leukocyte migration inhibitory factor from sensitized lymphocytes. The possibility of antigen or mitogen competition was excluded. The effects of CEP-Si in vitro were time dependent and did not require the presence of monocytes. Cells pretreated with CEP-Si and then washed suppressed plaque formation by fresh autologous cells in highly stimulated cultures. CEP-Si injected into C57BL/6 mice also strongly suppressed their immune response to sheep erythrocytes, and the in vivo suppression was correlated with the effects of CEP-Si in vitro.


M P Arala-Chaves, T B Higerd, M T Porto, J Munoz, J M Goust, H H Fudenberg, C B Loadholt


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