Mouse spleen cells which have been depleted of adherent cells do not respond to allogeneic lymphocytes in vitro. Their cytotoxic response can be restored by inclusion of mercaptoethanol in the medium. Mercaptoethanol is shown to have a stimulatory effect also on the response of normal (unseparated) spleen cells to alloantigens. The enhancement of the DNA-synthetic and cytotoxic response is similar, varying from 3.5–15-fold. Cytotoxic cells also appear in unmixed lymphocyte cultures in the presence of mercaptoethanol and fetal calf serum. The specificity of these background cytotoxic cells is not known.

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