Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Using antisera against the alpha, the beta or the complex of both chains of HLA-DR antigens, we have studied the role of individual chains of HLA-DR antigens in activation of T cells in autologous mixed lymphocyte reaction (AMLR). Alpha chain-specific antibody, not anti-beta chain serum prevented T cells from acquiring responsiveness to interleukin-2 (IL-2), suppressed the production of 1L-2, and inhibited the T cell proliferative response in both primary and secondary AMLR cultures. However, proliferation of already activated IL-2 reactive T cells supported by IL-2 was not affected by any of the four different types of anti-DR sera used. Fifty to sixty percent of T cells activated by AMLR or by PHA possessed DR antigens and functioned well as stimulator cells in secondary AMLR cultures. Moreover, the stimulatory activity of these DR-positive T cells was suppressed by the anti-alpha chain, not by the beta chain-specific antibody. Since continuous proliferation of T cells requires IL-2 and since nonactivated T cells are not sensitive to IL-2 and are unable to absorb this growth factor, we conclude the following: (1) The alpha, not the beta chain of HLA-DR antigens seems to be the structure responsible for enabling resting T cells to respond to IL-2 and induce production of IL-2 in AMLR. (2) Once T cells have acquired responsiveness to IL-2 and the growth factor has been produced, there is no further requirement for HLA-DR antigens, but the availability of IL-2 determines the level and extent of proliferation of IL-2 sensitive T cells.
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