The influence of topical exposure to two sensitizing chemicals on draining lymph node cell proliferative responses in BALB/c mice has been examined. Conventional contact sensitization with 4-ethoxymethylene-2-phenyloxazol-5-one (oxazolone) has been shown to induce a rapid and systemic suppression of subsequent proliferative responses to topically applied chemical which can be adoptively transferred to recipient mice with immune lymph node cells. In contrast to some previous reports in which such suppression was found to be largely antigen-specific in nature, we report that, at least initially, the inhibition of lymphocyte proliferation induced by skin sensitization is hapten-non-specific. The relevance of this phenomenon to the regulation of contact sensitization is discussed.

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