Mononuclear cell infiltration and alteration in the connective tissues are prominent features of the inflammatory response in a number of diseases. To determine whether mononuclear cell products can modulate collagen synthesis, human peripheral mononuclear cells from normal donors were isolated by Ficoll-Hypaque gradient centrifugation and then incubated for 48 h with or without phytohemagglutinin. Confluent cultures of normal, human skin fibroblasts were incubated with [14C]proline and various amounts of dialyzed supernates from the mononuclear cell cultures. Labeled, newly synthesized collagen was estimated by [14C]hydroxyproline analysis, collagenase digestion, and chromatography on Agarose A-5m in sodium dodecyl sulfate. The total incorporation of [14C]proline was not significantly affected by addition of the mononuclear cell supernates, but as much as 90% decrease in the synthesis by the fibroblasts of labeled collagen was found relative to controls. Supernates from the phytohemagglutinin-stimulated cultures were more active than those from nonstimulated cells. These results suggest that mononuclear cells can synthesize a factor(s) which can selectively inhibit collagen synthesis.

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