IL 2 alone is mitogenic only for Tac-positive lymphocytes in human peripheral blood

D. S. Taylor, J. A. Kern, P. C. Nowell

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Abstract

To investigate the ability of interleukin 2 (IL 2) alone to induce proliferation of resting human lymphocytes, we stimulated human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) with an immunopurified preparation of IL 2 or with phytohemagglutinin (PHA). Proliferation and the percent of cells expressing IL 2 receptors were assessed over 6 days of culture. Regardless of the stimulus, the percent of cells bearing an IL 2 receptor paralleled the amount of proliferation, and proliferation was inhibited by an anti-IL 2 receptor monoclonal antibody (anti-Tac). When stimulated by IL 2 alone, less than 8% of PBMC expressed an IL 2 receptor after 24 hr of culture. Stimulation by IL 2 caused both proliferation and IL 2 receptor expression to increase over the entire culture period (routinely to 75,000 cpm and 50% respectively). When colchicine was added (to inhibit cell division), the percent of cells bearing an IL 2 receptor did not increase. IL 2 alone also induced proliferation of PBMC depleted of accessory cells, with the same kinetics but reduced peak response. Both accessory cells and supernatants that showed IL 1 but not IL 2 activity augmented this proliferation 50 to 100%. In contrast to the effect of IL 2, 25 to 50% of PBMC stimulated by PHA expressed an IL 2 receptor after 24 hr of culture. PHA-induced proliferation and IL 2 receptor expression peaked early in the culture period (routinely to 100,000 cpm and 50% respectively within 3 days), and colchicine did not inhibit the early induction of IL 2 receptors on PBMC. Our findings indicate that unlike PHA, IL 2 induces proliferation of PBMC (or PBMC depleted of accessory cells) by expanding the small percentage of cells in a resting population that already express IL 2 receptors. IL 2 does not appear to induce IL 2 receptors on cells previously lacking this molecule. We also find that IL 1 can enhance the response to IL 2 alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1620-1624
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume136
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

Cite this

Taylor, D. S., Kern, J. A., & Nowell, P. C. (1986). IL 2 alone is mitogenic only for Tac-positive lymphocytes in human peripheral blood. Journal of Immunology, 136(5), 1620-1624.