Abstract

Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were stimulated in vitro with anti-lymphocyte globulin (ALG), and the phenotypic and functional properties of the blasts obtained were investigated. When stained with monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs), all of the blasts were identified as T cells that expressed predominantly the CD4 phenotype (70% of the cells). The remaining blasts were CD8+. These findings demonstrate that ALG stimulates both helper-inducer and cytotoxic- suppressor cells at random since the CD4 to CD8 ratio in the stimulated blasts was the same as in resting PBMC. This ratio is different from that observed in short-term cultures of T cells stimulated with phytohemagglutinin (PHA) under the same conditions (CD4 to CD8 ratio less than 1). ALG-stimulated T cells were cloned by limiting dilution in the presence of recombinant Interleukin-2 (rIL-2). The clones obtained were expanded and maintained in long term cultures with rIL-2. Thirty-two clones were tested for their capacity of producing colony stimulating activity (CSA) or burst promoting activity (BPA). Twenty- eight of them produced CSA and 12 produced BPA. No correlation was found between the surface phenotype and the ability of the clones to produce CSA or BPA (ie, both the CD4+ and CD8+ clones released the cytokines). When 16 of the same clones were tested for II-2 and gamma interferon (gamma IFN) production, 12 were found to be gamma INF and IL- 2 producers. All of the gamma IFN producers also released IL-2, whereas in the single clones no correlation was found with the capacity of releasing BPA and CSA. Supernatants from selected T-cell clones were also tested for hematopoietic growth factor activities in the presence of neutralizing antisera to human granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) or to Interleukin-3 (IL-3). It was found that most CSA was attributable to GM-CSF, whereas BPA was mainly related to the presence of IL-3.

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