Normal and malignant lymphocytes can migrate from the bloodstream into lymph nodes and Peyer's patches. This process helps distribute normal lymphocytes throughout the lymphoid system and may provide a portal of entry for circulating malignant cells. An adhesive interaction between lymphocytes and the endothelium of postcapillary venules is the first step in the migratory process. We have recently shown that the simple sugars L-fucose and D-mannose, and an L-fucose-rich polysaccharide (fucoidin), can inhibit this adhesive interaction in vitro. We now report that mannose-6-phosphate, the structurally related sugar fructose-1-phosphate, and a phosphomannan, core polysaccharide from the yeast Hansenula holstii (PPME) are also potent inhibitors. Inhibitory activity was assessed by incubating freshly prepared suspensions of lymphocytes, containing the various additives, over air-dried, frozen sections of syngeneic lymph nodes at 7-10 degrees C. Sections were then evaluated in the light microscope for the binding of lymphocytes to postcapillary venules. Mannose-6-phosphate and fructose-1-phosphate were potent inhibitors of lymphocyte attachment (one-half maximal inhibition at 2-3 mM). Mannose-1-phosphate and fructose-6-phosphate had slight inhibitory activity, while glucose-1-phosphate, glucose-6-phosphate, galactose-1-phosphate, and galactose-6-phosphate had no significant activity (at 10 mM). In addition, the phosphomannan core polysaccharide was a potent inhibitor (one-half maximal inhibition at 10-20 micrograms/ml); dephosphorylation with alkaline phosphatase resulted in loss of its inhibitory activity. Preincubation of the lymphocytes, but not the lymph node frozen sections, with PPME resulted in persistent inhibition of binding. Neither the monosaccharides nor the polysaccharide suppressed protein synthesis nor decreased the viability of the lymphocytes. Furthermore, inhibitory activity did not correlate with an increase in negative charge on the lymphocyte surface (as measured by cellular electrophoresis). These data suggest that a carbohydrate-binding molecule on the lymphocyte surface, with specificity for mannose-phosphates and structurally related carbohydrates, may be involved in the adhesive interaction mediating lymphocyte recirculation.

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