T cells exert both positive and negative regulatory effects on B cell function. To determine whether the nature of the stimulus could alter the immunoregulatory effects of T cells, the capacity of a battery of human T cell clones to modulate B cell function after stimulation with either pokeweed mitogen or a mAb to the CD3 molecular complex was examined. It was observed that most clones induced B cell differentiation when stimulated with immobilized mAb to CD3 (64.1) regardless of their phenotype. Moreover, the majority of clones (42 of 51) augmented the generation of immunoglobulin-secreting cells (ISC) supported by anti-CD3-stimulated blood CD41 T cells. By contrast, none of the clones induced B cell differentiation when stimulated with PWM and 48 of 51 clones suppressed the generation of ISC induced by blood CD41 T cells. This suppression could not be accounted for by the depletion of essential molecules or factors or by secretion of suppressive factors. Suppressive activity of clones did not correlate with the CD4 or CD8 phenotype and was not overcome by the addition of supernatants generated from mitogen-stimulated T cells or recombinant IL-2. Suppression by most clones, however, was abrogated when the clones were treated with mitomycin C or irradiated. A number of suppressive mechanisms by individual PWM-stimulated clones was identified, including direct inhibition of B cell function by cytotoxic and non-lytic means and suppression of helper T cell function. The failure of anti-CD3-stimulated clones to suppress the differentiation of B cells appeared to reflect the capacity of this stimulus to induce apoptosis by the clones after initial activation. These results indicate that T cell clones can provide help for B cell differentiation or can suppress B cell function by a variety of mechanisms depending upon the mode of stimulation.
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