Specific immune suppression in newly hatched chicks induced by specific maternal antibodies has been reported. Laying hens were immunized with dinitrophenyl-keyhole limpet hemocyanin (DNP-KLH). Purified maternal anti-DNP and non-specific immunoglobulin (Ig) Y antibodies were transferred by yolk sac inoculation to newly hatched chicks, and then, they were immunized with an optimum immunogenic dose of DNP-KLH at 1 and 4 weeks of age. Concentrations of anti-DNP antibodies in serum samples of these chicks were measured by using Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Proportions of T-cell subsets in peripheral blood of these chicks were also measured by flow cytometric analysis at 5 weeks of age (one week after the second immunization). Suppression of anti-DNP antibody response and down-regulation of CD3(+)CD4(+) cells were observed in the chicks received high dose of maternal anti-DNP antibodies and immunized with DNP-KLH. On the other hand, normal anti-DNP antibody response and normal proportion of CD3(+)CD4(+) cells were observed in the chicks received high dose of non-specific IgY antibodies and immunized with DNP-KLH. Furthermore, when chicks received high dose of maternal anti-DNP antibodies and immunized with DNP-KLH at 1 and 4 weeks of age and then with rabbit serum albumin (RSA) at 5 and 8 weeks of age, their primary anti-RSA response was also significantly suppressed. We indicate here that specific maternal antibodies can affect both B and T cell responses and induce non-specific suppression against different antigens. However, this non-specific suppression does not continue for a long time.