A naturally occurring subpopulation of human peripheral blood lymphocytes is cytotoxic to autologous and/or allogeneic fibroblasts. The autocytotoxic lymphocytes have a receptor for the third component of complement and for aggregated gamma globulin, do not form rosettes with sheep red blood cells, and are not removed by passage through nylon. The autocytotoxic subpopulation is not present in the thymus and tonsils of normal children or in the peripheral blood of individuals with X-linked agammaglobulinemia. Fibroblast absorption experiments demonstrate that the autocytotoxic cells are "sensitized" to antigens expressed on allogeneic fibroblasts in addition to the antigens expressed on autologous cells. Some normal individuals have a second subpopulation of lymphocytes that may "regulate" the autocytotoxic cells. The relevance of these observations to the murine autocytotoxic cells is discussed.

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