Two neutral proteinases from human polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN), an elastase and the chymotrypsin-like cathepsin G, were purified, and their actions on lymphocytes in culture were studied. Both PMN proteinases stimulate lymphocytes from human peripheral blood and from mouse spleen in vitro, but do not affect thymic cells from either normal or hydrocortisone-treated mice. In stimulated mouse spleen cell cultures, most of the developing blast cells bear surface immunoglobulins, and subsequently appear to engage in antibody synthesis. In their stimulatory action, the two PMN proteinases thus resemble the classic B-cell mitogen LPS and neutral pancreatic proteinases such as trypsin, chymotrypsin, and elastase. The effects of proteinase inhibitors indicate that lymphocyte stimulation is dependent on the proteolytic activity of the enzymes. This work suggests that PMN proteinases, which are released at sites of inflammation, may modulate the function of lymphocytes.

This content is only available as a PDF.