Secondary murine cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses from alloantigen-primed T cells can be induced in vitro by apparently unrelated regimens, such as addition of either concanavalin A (Con A), conditioned medium from Con A stimulated lymphocyte cultures, conditioned medium from secondary mixed lymphocyte cultures (MLC), or stimulator cells sharing only the I-region with the stimulating cells used for primary sensitization. We now report that upon polyclonal (Con A), or antigen-specific (MLC) stimulation, Lyl+ T cells release a factor, which in turn triggers alloantigen primed Ly23+ T cells to proliferation and cytolytic activity. The secondary cytotoxic T lymphocyte inducing factor (SCIF) is produced within 24 h. For its production, an intact protein metabolism, not DNA metabolism, is required. Once induced, the functional activity of SCIF is nonspecific and not H-2 restricted. SCIF allows exponential growth and long-term propagation of cytolytic Ly23+ T cells with specificity to alloantigens used for primary sensitization. SCIF induced activation of alloantigen primed Ly23+ T cells does not require the presence of alloantigens. The results therefore reveal a process by which Lyl+ T-cell-derived nonspecific factor(s) induce autonomously Ly23+ T-cell-mediated, antigen-specific, cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses.

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