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Cell Immunol. 1986 Aug;101(1):232-41.

Dual effects of pertussis toxin on lymphoid cells in culture.


Pertussis toxin (Ptx), a component of Bordetella pertussis, is responsible for many of the biological activities of this bacterium, including its potent adjuvant capacity. In attempt to better understand the Ptx activity on the immune response in vivo, we have examined the effect of Ptx on certain lymphoid cell responses in vitro which could be targets for the adjuvant activity of this molecule. Ptx was found to stimulate a variety of cell responses which include (a) increased production and release of interleukin-1 (IL-1) by human monocytes and murine macrophages; (b) co-mitogenesis, in combination with IL-1, in cultures of murine thymocytes; (c) mitogenesis in cultures of various peripheral lymphocytes; (d) increased production of IL-2 in cultures of human blood lymphocytes and rodent splenocytes; and (e) elevated release of IL-3 in cultures of murine spleen cells. In addition to its stimulatory effects, however, Ptx was found to inhibit responses of both mononuclear phagocytes and lymphocytes to other stimuli. Most activities of Ptx in vitro were achieved at the optimal concentration range of 1-10 micrograms/ml, which is 100-1000 times higher than that showing adjuvant effects in vivo. Possible explanations for the dual effect of Ptx and for the discrepancy in doses optimal for the effects in vivo and in vitro are discussed.

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