Abstract Bone marrow cells have been shown to nonspecifically suppress primary in vitro antibody responses. This suppression appears to be mediated by a low-molecular-weight soluble factor, B-SF which was released from a fraction of cells of similar size to the suppressor as obtained by velocity sedimentation. Like the suppressor cell, B-SF was also shown to be effective very early in the immune response. It was produced by all strains of mice tested and functioned across strain barriers. Characterization of the active suppressor molecule showed it to be a highly heat-stable, nonsialic acid-containing glycolipid of 1000 to 35000 daltons in molecular weight. Recovery of the purified suppressor from thin-layer chromatography plates was achieved indicating that the major glycolipid component visualized on TLC is likely the active suppressor molecule. The characteristics of this suppressor may show it to be a fundamental immune regulatory mechanism.