The role of phenomena analogous to fibroblast contact inhibition in lymphocyte growth regulation is controversial, although it is clear that direct cell-cell contact is vital to immunoregulation and accessory cell function. An extract of mouse liver plasma membrane proteins, referred to as suppressive liver extract (SLE), that suppresses the growth of 3T3 fibroblasts also inhibited the mitogen-induced proliferation of murine lymphocytes. A dose of 20 micrograms/ml SLE was less than 95% suppressive of proliferation in both mouse T and mouse B cells treated with a variety of mitogens. B cell growth factor, while increasing DNA synthesis overall in mitogen-stimulated B cells, did not change the extent of SLE suppression, which suggests that the SLE does not interfere with lymphocyte-growth factor interactions. In exploring a sequence of B cell activation events, we discovered that SLE had no effect on the early activation event of increased phosphatidylinositol turnover. Blastogenesis, however, was inhibited in mitogen-stimulated, SLE-treated B cells. The maximum suppressive effect was observed if the SLE was added within 8-12 h of the mitogenic stimulus. SLE did not affect the viability of cells in culture. These results point to a possible unity of regulatory mechanisms between contact inhibition in fibroblasts and the processes of immunoregulation.

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