Requirement for three distinct lymphokines for the induction of cytotoxic T lymphocytes from thymocytes

Y. Takai, S. H. Herrmann, J. L. Greenstein, G. L. Spitalny, S. J. Burakoff

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38 Scopus citations


The induction of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) from CTL precursors requires a combination of antigen and lymphokine signals. To investigate lymphokine requirements for CTL generation, we used an assay in which helper T cell and accessory cell-depleted spleen cells or whole thymocytes were cultured with lectin (Con A) and lymphokines. This culture was followed by assessment of lectin-dependent cytolysis. High concentrations of recombinant interleukin 2 (R-IL 2) (100 U/ml) alone were not sufficient for lectin-mediated CTL induction from thymocytes whereas 20 to 100 U/ml of R-IL 2 alone could induce a significant lectin-mediated CTL response from accessory cell-depleted spleen cells. Using thymocytes as responders, we found purified or recombinant interferon-γ (IFN-γ) did not cause cytolytic activity either in the absence of or in the presence of R-IL 2. However, supernatant from Con A-stimulated rat spleen cells (rat Con A SN) in combination with R-IL 2 could induce cytolytic activity, suggesting that several factors are required for CTL induction. Con A SN fractionated by gel filtration and the fractions were tested for ability to induce CTL. In the presence of a low level of R-IL 2 (5 U/ml), fractions with a M(r) of approximately 31,000 could induce CTL, and this activity was referred to as CTL differentiation factor (CDF). The peak fractions containing CDF activity did not have detectable IL 1, IL 2, IFN-γ, or CSF activity. However, by add-back experiments and the use of blocking antibodies, a monoclonal antibody against the IL 2 receptor or antibodies against murine IFN-γ, we demonstrated that CTL induction from mature thymocytes (L3T4-, Lyt-2+) requires CDF activity in addition to IL 2 and IFN-γ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3494-3500
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1986


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