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Transplantation. 1989 Apr;47(4):625-33.

Lymphokine production by MLR-reactive reaction lymphocytes obtained from normal mice and mice rendered tolerant of class II MHC antigens.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Miami Medical School, Florida 33136.


A large proportion of mice rendered neonatally tolerant of class II MHC antigens respond to the tolerogen in vitro in an MLR, while simultaneously maintaining tolerance in vivo as evidenced by acceptance of a skin graft bearing the tolerated antigens. To determine whether this discrepancy between in vivo and in vitro tolerance is reflective of differences in the amount and/or type of lymphokines produced by tolerant lymphocytes, we have examined the ability of tolerogen-reactive lymphocytes to produce IL-2, IL-4/5, and IFN in vitro in an MLR. Our results demonstrate that when stimulated with the tolerogen, lymphocytes from both normal and tolerant responders produce IL-2 and interferon. However, in comparison to normal cells, 2 alterations in the tolerogen-specific responses of lymphocytes obtained from tolerant mice were identified. (1) The amount of IL-2 in the supernatants derived from tolerant cultures declines prematurely compared to normal cultures. This premature decline in IL-2 production was due neither to a lower frequency of Th cells as judged by limit dilution analysis nor to an increase in IL-2R expression on tolerant lymphocytes as measured by FACS analysis. (2) IL-4 and presumably IL-5 can be demonstrated in supernatants of tolerant, but not normal, lymphocytes stimulated by the tolerogen. Thus although lymphocytes from MLR-positive tolerant mice generate substantial quantities of lymphokines in response to the tolerogen, the pattern of lymphokine production is unusual when compared to that of normal lymphocytes. These results are inconsistent with the notion that a global lack of helper activity, per se, is responsible for the maintenance of tolerance in these mice and furthermore suggest that tolerance could be the result of "inappropriate" lymphokine production.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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