We studied the potential immunoenhancing effects of high doses of rIL-2 on murine T and B cell functions in vivo. Injection of rIL-2 caused a threefold or more increase in the frequencies of antigen-specific proliferative T cells, suggesting that rIL-2 initiated a polyclonal T cell response. In primary and secondary humoral immune responses, administration of rIL-2 in vivo selectively enhanced the production of IgM antibodies, whereas the IgG response was unaffected. Coadministration of rIL-2 with antigen failed to induce an isotype switch from IgM to IgG in genetically low-responding mice. Interestingly, in mice treated with rIL-2 alone (in the absence of exogenous antigen), polyclonal IgM production was induced. Polyclonal IgM production of lesser magnitude was found when mice were immunized with specific antigen in the absence of exogenous rIL-2, suggesting that local IL-2 concentrations in a primary immune response might be sufficient to elicit a polyclonal IgM response.

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