Autoreactive T lymphocytes were generated by culturing human peripheral blood mononuclear cells with an antigen-specific major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restricted autologous inducer T cell, termed RW17C and subsequently cloned in soft agar. The majority of such clones (AC1-13) expressed the T3+T4+T8-T11+Ia+ phenotype and were directed at autologous class II MHC gene products found on B cells, macrophages, and B lymphoblastoid cells as judged by their proliferative response to the latter. For this recognition, the clones employed a T3-Ti molecular complex and a T4 structure analogous to those found on allospecific T cells. Perhaps more importantly, it was observed that the same AC1-13 autoreactive clones (AC) induced autologous B cells to produce high levels of immunoglobulin in the absence of exogenous antigen and could synergize with the RW17C clone to effect maximal B cell Ig production. These results support the notion that such autoreactive cells can function in a physiologic amplifier role by facilitating induction via an internal set of signals (i.e. autologous MHC).

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