We report here a factor (B cell growth factor) found in induced supernatants of the mouse thymoma EL4 that co-stimulates with anti-IgM antibodies in short-term cultures of purified B lymphocytes to induce polyclonal B cell proliferation but not antibody-forming cell production. The factor is not mitogenic for resting B cells and interacts with anti-IgM-activated B cells in a non-H-2-restricted manner. Absorption studies and molecular weight analysis reveal the factor is distinct from interleukin 2. This factor synergises with antigen, interleukin 2, and an interleukin 2-free, B cell growth factor-free T cell supernatant that contains T cell-replacing factor to produce erythrocyte-specific plaque-forming cells in cultures of highly purified B cells.

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