The autologous mixed lymphocyte reaction (AMLR) was assayed in a medium containing fresh autologous serum, by using nylon-adherent stimulator cells and nonadherent responder T cells, which were prepared from human peripheral blood mononuclear cells in the absence of fetal calf serum (FCS) to avoid any sensitization to xenogeneic protein antigens. DNA replication without a background proliferative response was induced by stimulator cells in the responder cells. The addition of monoclonal anti-HLA-DR antibody to the culture or treatment of the responder cells with complement plus anti-T4 but not anti-T8 monoclonal antibody suppressed the AMLR, suggesting that this specific AMLR involves an interaction between HLA-DR antigens and helper/inducer T cells. Regardless of this specific DNA replication, the AMLR generated no production of interleukin 2 (IL-2) and interferon gamma (IFN-gamma), both of which could be found in the allogeneic (allo) MLR. In addition, DNA replication in the AMLR was not inhibited by the addition of specific antisera for IL-2 and IFN-gamma, both of which significantly inhibited the DNA replication in allo-MLR. The AMLR was accompanied by production of a soluble factor, which could stimulate the proliferation of murine interleukin 3 (IL-3)-dependent cell line 32Dcl but not the proliferation of IL-2-dependent cell lines. This factor was also found to be responsible for proliferation of responder nonadherent cells in the AMLR. It strongly stimulated bone marrow cells, as did the murine IL-3. The factor had an Mr range, as determined by gel filtration, of 15,000-28,000, but it did not bind to fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC)-MonoQ column. Thus, the factor is distinguishable from IL-2 in physicochemical or biological properties, but similar to murine IL-3. These results suggest that the human AMLR may be primarily a phenomenon in which non-T cells mediated by the HLA-DR antigens on the cell stimulate helper/inducer T cells to produce a lymphokine with IL-3-like properties, but no IL-2, which in turn stimulates the factor-dependent cells to proliferate.

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