Separation of cells by velocity sedimentation at unit gravity was utilized to investigate the physical properties of cytotoxic thymus-derived lymphocytes (CTL) generated in long-term mixed leukocyte cultures (MLC). In kinetic studies, CTL were found almost exclusively in the large cell fractions at the peak of the response on day 4, whereas the majority of CTL in day 14 MLC had the sedimentation properties of small lymphocytes. Reculture until day 14 of cells fractionated on the basis of size on day 4 indicated that the small CTL were derived exclusively from cells which had been large on day 4. Re-exposure of day 14 MLC cells to the original stimulating alloantigens resulted in significant cell proliferation and rapid regeneration of CTL activity. Cell fractionation experiments demonstrated that the cells in the day 14 MLC population which responded to the secondary allogeneic stimulus were small T lymphocytes, and that these cells rapidly developed into large, highly cytotoxic CTL following stimulation. Moreover, by restimulating on day 14 fractions which were selected on the basis of size on day 4, it was found that the responding small lymphocytes were themselves the progeny of cells which were large at the peak of the response. Since CTL and CTL progenitors showed concomitant changes in physical properties with time, the possibility exists that they belong to the same cell lineage, and hence that CTL can differentiate into cells which are no longer cytotoxic, but capable of mounting an anamnestic response.

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