T cell populations derived from naive mice produce very small amounts of interleukin 4 (IL-4) in response to stimulation on anti-CD3-coated dishes. IL-4 production by such cells is mainly found among large- and intermediate-sized T cells and is dependent upon IL-2. Injection of anti-IgD into mice, a stimulus that leads to striking increases in serum levels of IgG1 and IgE, causes a striking increase in the IL-4-producing capacity of T cells. This increase is first observed 4 d after injection of anti-IgD. IL-4 production by T cells from anti-IgD-injected donors is mainly found among large- and intermediate-sized T cells. Small, dense T cells are poor producers of IL-4. The capacity of T cells from anti-IgD-injected donors to produce IL-4 is enhanced by addition of IL-2 and is largely, but not completely, inhibited by neutralization of in situ produced IL-2. These results indicate that the control of IL-4 production in T cells from naive and anti-IgD-injected donors is similar. However, it is possible that a portion of the IL-4-producing activity of T cells from activated donors is IL-2 independent. Although small T cells from naive donors have a very limited capacity to produce IL-4 in response to stimulation with anti-CD3, even in the presence of added IL-2, they can give rise to IL-4-producing cells upon in vitro culture on plates coated with anti-CD3 if both IL-2 and IL-4 are added. This leads to the appearance of IL-4-producing cells within 2 d. When analyzed after 5 d of culture by harvesting and re-exposure to anti-CD3-coated culture wells and IL-2, these cells have increased their IL-4-producing capacity by approximately 100-fold. The development of IL-4-producing cells in response to anti-CD3, IL-2, and IL-4 is not inhibited by interferon gamma (IFN-gamma), nor does IFN-gamma diminish IL-4 production by these cells upon challenge with anti-CD3 plus IL-2.

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