A helper factor(s) distinct from interleukin 2 (IL-2) was shown to be present in the concanavalin A-stimulated supernatant of normal mouse spleen cells (normal Con A Sn). Spleen cells thoroughly depleted of T cells required both IL-2 and this factor to produce antibody-secreting cells in response to sheep erythrocytes, although in the presence of IL-2 and a few T cells the requirement for the factor was less apparent. The factor had an apparent approximately 40,000 mol wt. The factor was found in normal Con A Sn that had been depleted of IL-2 by absorption with IL-2-dependent T cells and was absent from Con A-stimulated supernatants of the IL-2-producing T cell hybridoma, FS6-14.13. These results indicate that multiple helper factors control the B cell response to antigen and that IL-2, in addition to its T cell growth promoting activity, plays a direct role in B cell responses.

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