The cytokine, interleukin 12 (IL-12), stimulates both natural killer cells and T cells to proliferate and to secrete interferon gamma (IFN-gamma). The T cell proliferative response to IL-12 must be induced and is evident after T cell receptor-mediated stimulation. As reported here, tolerant CD4+ T cells and clones, that are anergic for IL-2 production, are also anergic for induction of the proliferative response to IL-12. Murine T helper 1 clones tolerized in vitro, as well as anergic CD4+ T cells isolated from mice tolerized to the Mls-1a antigen (Ag) in vivo, demonstrated defective induction of proliferation to IL-12 upon restimulation with Ag. IL-12-enhanced production of IFN-gamma was observed in both control and anergic cells after Ag/antigen-presenting cell (APC) activation, although total IFN-gamma secretion by anergic cells was less than that produced by control cells, even in the presence of IL-12. These data indicate that T cell clonal anergy results in profound inhibition of proliferative responses, since the autocrine growth factor, IL-2, is not produced, and the APC-derived cytokine, IL-12, is not an effective stimulus for anergic T cell proliferation.

This content is only available as a PDF.