Frequent T4-positive cells with cytolytic activity in spleens of patients with hodgkin's disease (a clonal analysis)

E. Maggi, P. Parronchi, G. Del Prete, M. Ricci, A. Bosi, L. Moretta, S. Romagnani

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Purified T lymphocytes isolated from spleens of untreated patients with Hodgkin's disease (HD) were cloned by using a microculture system previously shown to allow clonal expansion of virtually all peripheral blood T lymphocytes. Cells were plated under limiting conditions with irradiated feeder cells and PHA. Interleukin 2 (IL 2)-containing supernatants were added 48 hr later. The phenotypic and functional characteristics of a total number of 221 clones derived from six different HD spleens were investigated and compared with those of 133 clones obtained from three spleens of otherwise healthy individuals who underwent posttraumatic splenectomy. The majority of T cell clones derived from HD spleens expressed the T4+ (helper/inducer) phenotype. However, further functional characterization showed that as much as 50% of these T4+ clones displayed cytolytic activity in a lectin-dependent lytic assay allowing detection of cytolytic cells of any specificity. In contrast, less than 10% T4+ clones derived from control spleens were cytolytic, as assessed by the same lectin-dependent lytic assay. The cytolytic potential of T4+ and T8+ clones established from spleens of patients with HD did not reflect the induction of lymphokine-activated killer cells, because only a minority of them displayed natural killer (NK) activity against NK-sensitive K562 and MOLT-4 cell lines. These findings indicate that T lymphocytes found in the spleens of patients with HD may represent, at least in part, the expansion of a subset present in small percentages among normal peripheral blood or spleen T lymphocytes, which is involved in a cytotoxic reaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1516-1520
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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