The proliferative responses of purified leukemic human B cells from nine B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemias to recombinant interleukin 2 (IL-2), spontaneously, and after preactivation by Staphylococcus aureus Cowan I (SAC) or anti-mu antibodies were studied. Three patterns of response were observed: (a) no response (three cases); (b) a moderate spontaneous response enhanced by anti-mu (one case); (c) a high proliferative response after preactivation by anti-mu and/or SAC (five cases). IL-2 could also trigger normal B cells, purified from spleen, to proliferative after preactivation by anti-mu or SAC. These results provide evidence that IL-2 is a lymphokine that acts physiologically on both B and T cells.

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