Pure suspensions of human lymphocytes were separated from peripheral blood by means of nylon wool, homogenized in 0.34 M sucrose-0.01 M EDTA solution, and fractionated by differential centrifugation. The bulk of acid hydrolase activity was found to be concentrated in a 20,000 g x 20 min granular fraction, whereas nuclear, debris, and supernatant fractions contained lesser concentrations of hydrolases. Acid hydrolase activity present in the granular fraction showed appropriate "latency" as judged by its dose-dependent release into the 20,000 g x 20 min supernatant after exposure to membrane-disruptive agents such as streptolysin S, filipin, and lysolecithin. Heparin proved to be necessary in the suspending medium so that reproducible homogenization and cell fractionation could be obtained. Even excessive contamination of lymphocyte suspensions with platelets did not appreciably alter the acid hydrolase activity of lymphocyte homogenates or the distribution of enzymes in subcellular fractions. Discontinuous density-gradient centrifugation of a 500 g x 10 min supernatant, containing both acid hydrolase-rich organelles and mitochondria, resulted in partial resolution of hydrolase-rich organelles from mitochondria. Fine structural studies of the intact lymphocytes showed the presence of acid phosphatase-positive, membrane-bounded organelles. Electron microscopy of the "large granule" (20,000 g x 20 min) fraction of such lymphocytes demonstrated 80–90% mitochondria, 5–10% platelets, and 5–10% membrane-bounded acid phosphatase-positive structures. The data indicate the presence in human peripheral blood lymphocytes of acid hydrolase-rich granules which possess many of the biochemical and structural characteristics of lysosomes in other tissues.

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