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Immunobiology. 2009;214(4):303-9. doi: 10.1016/j.imbio.2008.09.006. Epub 2008 Oct 25.

High mobility group box chromosomal protein 1 acts as a proliferation signal for activated T lymphocytes.

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Department of Woman and Child Health, Pediatric Rheumatology Research Unit, Karolinska Institutet/Karolinska University Hospital, L 8:04 CMM, S-17176 Stockholm, Sweden.


The nuclear protein high mobility group box chromosomal protein 1 (HMGB1) can be translocated extracellularly and plays a well-established role as a pro-inflammatory mediator during innate immune responses. Much less is known about the role of HMGB1 in adaptive immunity, since only a few studies have addressed the issue. We herein activated subsets of purified, primary human T lymphocytes with solid-phase bound anti-CD3 mAb and assessed the effects of recombinant HMGB1 protein on cell proliferation when added to the cultures. HMGB1 acted as a proliferative signal for human T cells during suboptimal anti-CD3 mAb stimulation. Statistically significant increased proliferation was recorded in both CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell cultures at HMGB1 concentrations ranging from 0.25 to 1.0 microg/ml. HMGB1 had no effect on proliferation in the absence of anti-CD3 stimulation or during T-cell activation obtained using high doses of anti-CD3 mAb. Our results demonstrate a direct HMGB1-mediated effect in adaptive immunity.

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