Murine spleen cells activated by concanavalin A (Con A) in culture produce a class of lymphokine molecules which possess biological activity in a number of lymphocyte response assays. Lymphokines with a mol wt of 30,000, as estimated from gel filtration studies, can be resolved into two components which differ by charge, with isoelectric point (pI) values of 4.3 and 4.9, respectively. Both components stimulate (a) the growth of established T-cell lines in culture, (b) the proliferation of thymocytes in the presence of Con A under culture conditions where Con A alone is nonmitogenic, (c) the induction of antibody responses to heterologous erythrocyte antigens in athymic (nude) spleen cultures, (d) the generation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) in thymocyte cultures, and (e) the generation of CTL in nude spleen cultures. In each of these culture systems we suggest that the assays are detecting a single class of lymphokine which acts directly on activated T cells. Nonactivated T cells must be stimulated by either antigen or mitogen before becoming responsive to lymphokine, but do not require antigen or mitogen for continued growth with lymphokine. The two molecular species, separable by isoelectric focusing are referred to as the T-cell growth factor (TCGF). A lymphokine, similar in size (30,000 daltons) to TCGF but heterogeneous in charge (pI 3.0--4.0), stimulates immune responses to erythrocyte antigens in T-cell-depleted spleen cultures but has no stimulatory activity in the other lymphocyte assay systems described. The data have been interpreted as showing the two molecular forms of murine TCGF (pI 4.3 and 4.9) are responsible for many of the lymphokine activities described elsewhere as thymocyte mitogenic factor, nonspecific T-cell-replacing factor and killer helper factor or costimulator. The other lymphokine, separable from TCGF by charge, appears to have true T-cell-replacing activity.

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