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J Immunol. 1991 Jul 1;147(1):144-8.

Nitric oxide production is required for murine resident peritoneal macrophages to suppress mitogen-stimulated T cell proliferation. Role of IFN-gamma in the induction of the nitric oxide-synthesizing pathway.

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Department of Surgery, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence 02903.


Lymphocyte proliferation in Con A- or LPS-stimulated murine splenic cell (SC) cultures was suppressed by the addition of excess macrophages. In Con A-stimulated cultures, suppression was associated with the expression of nitric oxide-synthesizing pathway (NOSP) activity as demonstrated by the accumulation of nitrite, a degradation product of nitric oxide (NO), in the culture supernatants. That NO, a cytotoxic and anti-proliferative metabolite of l-arginine, or other reactive nitrogen intermediates generated through the NOSP mediated the suppressive effect was suggested by the reversal of suppression brought about by the addition of a specific inhibitor of the NOSP (NG-monomethyl-l-arginine acetate) to the culture media. No NOSP activity was detectable in LPS-stimulated SC/macrophage cocultures. The role of T cell-derived IFN-gamma in the induction of the NOSP was investigated by the use of anti-IFN-gamma-mAb. Antibody-treated Con A supernatants failed to induce the NOSP in macrophages, and the addition of the mAb to Con A-stimulated SC/macrophage cocultures obviated the suppressive effects. Indomethacin and catalase only partially restored proliferation in Con A-stimulated SC/macrophage cocultures but were remarkably efficient in preventing macrophage-dependent suppression when LPS was used as the mitogenic stimulus. These results demonstrate a regulatory system of potential relevance in sites of predominant macrophage infiltration by which T cell-derived IFN-gamma activates the production of the mediator, NO, that suppresses T cell proliferation. In addition, these data demonstrate that, although the suppressive effects of excess macrophages appear to be expressed nonspecifically toward both T and B cells, suppression is mediated through a different mechanism in each case.

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