Characterization of unique lymphoid cells derived from murine spleen which constitutively produce interleukin-6

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Attempts have been made to isolate continuous lines of rare subsets of lymphoid cells present in murine spleen in order to analyse their function and lineage relationship with respect to other lymphoid cells. Mitogenic stimulation was used to expand the lymphoid cells remaining in spleen following depletion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells by antibody and complement treatment. Cells were cultured in the presence of concanavalin A (Con A), interleukin-2 (IL-2) and syngeneic irradiated spleen feeder cells. This procedure expanded a population of non-T-, non-B-lymphoid cells bearing a common, unique phenotype resembling lymphoid precursors. Eight cloned lines from B10.A(2R) and B10.A(5R) strains of mice have been analysed here. Analysis of cell surface marker expression has revealed positive expression of class I and class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens, CD44, CD45 (T200 and B220) but expressing no markers unique to T, B or myeloid cells. All cell lines represent agranular lymphoblasts and show no evidence of early T-cell receptor (TcR) or Ig heavy chain gene rearrangements, suggesting no commitment to T-or B-lymphoid lineage. Despite expression of the NK1.1 marker for natural killer (NK) cells, none of the cell lines has been shown to have cytotoxic function for NK targets, nor could cytotoxic function be induced following various activation procedures. Analysis of lymphokine production has revealed no detectable IL-1, IL-2, IL-3, IL-4, IL-5, tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) or granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) in cell supernatants. However, all but one of these cell lines constitutively produce IL-6. Each cell line has been shown to induce T-cell proliferation independently in mixed lymphocyte reactions, implicating the capacity of these cells to act as antigen-presenting cells. Consistent with this hypothesis is the observation that these cells also demonstrate endocytic activity for foreign proteins. This was visualized by their uptake of fluoresceinated albumin into cytoplasmic granules. Since they express many cell surface markers common to described isolates of spleen dendritic cells, including both class I and class II major histocompatibility molecules, they would appear to represent the first example of continuous lines of this rare cell subset.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-228
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1993
Externally publishedYes


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