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Cell Immunol. 1990 Oct 15;130(2):520-8.

Interleukin-2 mRNA expression, lymphokine production and DNA synthesis in glutathione-depleted T cells.

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  • 1Institute of Immunology and Genetics, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg.


The stimulation of DNA synthesis in lymphocyte populations was previously shown to depend strongly on the intracellular glutathione (GSH) level. Since T cell growth is known to depend on interleukin 2 (IL-2), the experiments in this report were designed to determine whether intracellular GSH depletion may inhibit IL-2 production or the IL-2 dependent DNA synthesis. Our experiments revealed that IL-2 production and DNA synthesis of mitogenically stimulated splenic T cells have indeed different requirements for GSH. The addition of relatively high concentrations of GSH (5 mM) to cultures of concanavalin A (Con A)-stimulated splenic T cells was found to augment strongly the DNA synthesis but inhibited the production of IL-2. Moderate intracellular GSH levels, however, are apparently not inhibitory for IL-2 production, since intracellular GSH depletion by cysteine starvation or by graded concentrations of DL-buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) had virtually no effect on IL-2-specific mRNA expression and the production of T cell growth factor (TCGF). The DNA synthesis activity, in contrast, was strongly suppressed after GSH depletion with either method. As in cultures of splenic T cells, GSH depletion had no substantial effect on the induction of IL-2 mRNA and TCGF production in several mitogenically stimulated T cell clones. Taken together, our experiments suggest that complex immune response may operate best at intermediate GSH levels that are not too high to inhibit IL-2 production but sufficient to support DNA synthesis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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