The present study evaluated the effect of in vivo administration of hydrocortisone (OHC) to normal subjects on the kinetics and function of naturally occurring and mitogen-induced suppressor cells (SC). It was demonstrated that in vivo OHC abrogates the function of naturally occurring SC and converts normal nonresponder peripheral blood (PB) cells to responder status. However, 4 hr following OHC administration at the point of maximal lymphocytopenia, the cells remaining in the circulation could still be activated by Con A to suppress. In addition, unstimulated cells obtained 4 hr after OHC administration markedly enhanced PFC responses when cocultured with fresh autologous cells. It was demonstrated that this enhanced PFC response was independent of 48-hr incubation, monocyte depletion, or changes in B-cell numbers and most likely represented a manifestation of in vivo OHC-induced changes in the circulatory kinetics of immunoregulatory cell populations.
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