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Haematopoietic growth factors are released in cultures of H–2-restricted helper T cells, accessory cells and specific antigen


Colony formation by mammalian haematopoietic cells in culture depends on specific glycoprotein growth factors. ‘Colony-stimulating factors’ for granulocytic1,2 and macrophage3,4 precursors (G- and M-CSFs), as well as for pluripotential and early committed erythroid cells (‘burst promoting activity, or BPA5) are released in cultures of stimulated spleen, lymph node or peripheral blood cells5–8. In such systems the induction stimulus has been either allogeneic cell antigens, or lectins which stimulate T cells, such as pokeweed mitogen, concanavalin A (Con A) or phytohaemagglutin6 and both T cells and adherent cells are implicated in the process7,8. The complexity of the spleen cell populations used in earlier in vitro studies has made it difficult to establish the cellular source of the factors and the mechanisms leading to their release. Pure populations of continuously growing cell lines of either monocytic/macrophage1 or T-cell10,11 character have already been shown to release haematopoietic activities constitutively. However, such evidence cannot prove that these functions are also expressed by the normal counterparts of these lines. We have reduced the complexity of the spleen cell system by supplying helper T cells in the form of pure clonal populations of known physiological function and antigenie specificity, and demonstrate here that activity is released when helper T cells are cultured with specific antigen, and that release depends on H–2 (I–A region) restricted interaction with accessory cells present in spleen or normal peritoneal cavity.

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