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J Immunol. 1984 Jun;132(6):2939-47.

Accessory function and interleukin 1 production by human leukemic cell lines.


Highly purified T lymphocytes do not proliferate in response to mitogens, unless adherent HLA-DR-positive monocytes are added to the culture. This accessory function (AF) of monocytes requires the release of interleukin 1 (IL 1). Cells from three human leukemic cell lines, K562, HL60, and U937, could very efficiently replace monocytes in a 72-hr mitogen-induced T cell proliferation assay. The AF was clearly related to precise maturational stages of these cells; the hematopoietic precursor K562 cells spontaneously exerted high AF, but lost this property when treated with differentiation inducers. On the contrary, the promyelocytic HL60 cells and the "histiocytic" U937 cells exhibited no spontaneous AF, but acquired this property when induced to differentiate along the granulocytic and/or monocytic pathway. Three leukemic cells could not only stimulate T cells to proliferate and produce IL 2 in the presence of mitogens, but also under appropriate culture conditions these cells could produce IL 1, which could not be distinguished from normal human monocyte derived IL 1 by gel filtration and isoelectric focusing. Moreover, analysis of phenotypic markers revealed that AF and production of IL 1 could be demonstrated in different cell types and therefore are not restricted to the monocytic lineage. No HLA-DR antigen could be detected on K562 and HL60 cells. Thus, the expression of the DR antigens is not required for AF and IL 1 production in response to mitogens. These three human leukemic cell lines will provide convenient sources of human IL 1.

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