Murine peritoneal exudate cells (PEC) treated with murine recombinant interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) (greater than 99% estimated purity), or concanavalin A-stimulated spleen cell supernatants developed tumoricidal properties (macrophage activation factor [MAF] activity). MAF activity was found to occur with treatments of 10 U/ml IFN-gamma, and at levels as low as 1 U/ml IFN-gamma if a second signal (5 ng/ml endotoxin) was present in the MAF assay. Endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide [LPS]) alone at these levels failed to induce MAF; induction of MAF was observed at 1,000-fold greater levels. The ability of IFN-gamma to stimulate murine PEC was species specific. Various sources of materials that displayed MAF activity, including supernatants from interleukin 2-dependent cloned cytotoxic murine T lymphocyte lines that did not display detectable antiviral activity, were neutralized by antibody raised and affinity purified against recombinant IFN-gamma. Thus, IFN-gamma, although never detectable by antiviral assays, appears to be present in many lymphokine preparations and has potent macrophage activation capability.

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