Interleukin 2 produced by activated B lymphocytes acts as an autocrine proliferation-inducing lymphokine

Anand Lagoo, C. Kent Tseng, Stewart Sell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Normal peripheral blood B cells produce a soluble factor after activation that is functionally indistinguishable from interleukin 2 (IL 2) and can support B cell proliferation in vitro. Purified rabbit peripheral blood B cells, when stimulated with a combination of ionomycin (0.5 μg/mL) and phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) (1 ng/mL), secreted a soluble factor in the culture medium that supported the IL 2-dependent cell line CTLL-2. The ability of these supernatants to support CTLL-2 growth was almost completely blocked by rabbit antibodies against human recombinant IL 2 and by the anti-IL 2 receptor monoclonal antibody 7D4. These data strongly suggest that the growth factor secreted by rabbit B cells is IL 2. To examine the possibility that the IL 2 activity detected in the B-cell cultures may be derived from residual T cells, B cells were further purified by successive panning with a pan-T-cell monoclonal antibody, L11-135, and goat anti-rabbit IgG. These highly purified B cells produced levels of IL 2 activity comparable to those produced by the initial B cell populations. Comparison of IL 2 production by decreasing numbers of purified T cells and purified B cells also indicated that the B cells were the source of IL 2 activity. Supernatants of activated B cells could support proliferation of B-cell blasts, and this activity could be completely absorbed by CTLL-2 cells, indicating that IL 2 is a major growth factor for B cells. Measurement of DNA synthesis by activated B cells in a limiting dilution assay suggested that T cells are not required for the induction of DNA synthesis and also that IL 2 produced by B cells can act as an autocrine growth factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-279
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Autocrine/B Lymphocyte/IL 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry
  • Hematology
  • Molecular Biology


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