Phorbol myristate acetate (pma) is a potent mitogen for human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) comparable to phytohemagglutinin (PHA) in potency. Inactivation of PHA-responsive lymphocytes by 5'-bromodeoxyuridine and light treatment left the PMA response intact and nice versa. Experiments separating lymphocytes by rosetting with sheep erythrocytes (SRBC) demonstrated that the PMA-responsive lymphocytes segregate with those that have a high affinity for SRBC to a greater than PHA- or concanavalin A (Con A)-responsive cells. These results indicate that a PMA-responsive population in human peripheral blood resides within the T-lymphocyte population and appears to have a high affinity for SRBC and to be distinct from that responding to PHA and Con A. PMA may be useful clinically to assay the size and function of the high affinity or "active" rosette population.

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