The constitutive culture supernatant (SN) of the macrophage tumor line P388D1 (P388 SN) and the concanavalin A (Con A)-induced culture supernatant of the T cell hybridoma FS6-14.13 (FS6 Con A SN) were shown to contain nonspecific factors capable of inducing increased Ia expression by normal resting B cells in a dose-dependent manner. In six consecutive experiments the relative increase in Ia expression induced by P388 SN was 4.9 +/- 0.9, with FS6 Con A SN 10.7 +/- 1.5, and with a combination of both preparations 13.0 +/- 1.7. This increase in Ia expression was observed to occur in virtually all the B cells, reaching maximum levels within 24 h of culture. The interleukin-induced increase in B cell Ia expression occurred in the absence of ancillary signals provided by ligand-receptor Ig cross-linking and despite the fact that virtually all the control B cells, cultured in the absence of factors, remained in G0. These results suggest that functional receptors for at least some interleukins are expressed on normal resting B cells and their effects can be manifest in the absence of additional activating signals. The increased Ia expression induced by the nonspecific factor preparations was shown to be correlated with enhanced antigen-presenting capacity by the B cells to T cell hybridomas. The nature of the interleukins responsible for these effects remains to be definitively determined, however, the activity of FS6 Con A SN was shown to correlate with B cell growth factor activity and increased B cell Ia expression was not observed using interleukin 2 (IL-2) or interferon-gamma, prepared by recombinant DNA technology.

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