In vitro activation of bone marrow-derived T- and non-T-cell subsets by α-fetoprotein

D. W. Hoskin, S. Hamel, D. C. Hooper, R. A. Murgita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


α-Fetoprotein (AFP) is a major serum glycoprotein during embryonic and early postnatal life. A number of diverse biologic functions have been attributed to AFP, including osmotic and carrier function and immunosuppressive activity. In this study we demonstrate that AFP selectively stimulates in vitro proliferation of two distinct subsets of adult murine bone marrow cells. One population of AFP-reactive bone marrow cells expresses surface receptors for soybean agglutinin (SBA) lectin. SBA+ bone marrow cells are resistant to cytotoxic pretreatment with T-cell-specific antisera and are not retained on Ig-anti-Ig affinity columns. The absence of conventional T- and B-cell markers, coupled with the presence of SBA receptors, suggests that AFP-activated non-T bone marrow cells may belong to an immature set of B lymphocytes. A second population of AFP-responsive bone marrow cells expresses the Thy-1+ Lyt1+2- phenotype characteristic of conventional mature adult T helper cells. The potential physiological relevance of the mitogenic effects of AFP on bone marrow cells with respect to immunoregulatory processes in the fetal/newborn environments is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-174
Number of pages12
JournalCellular Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1985
Externally publishedYes


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