In studies of 13 normal adults to determine the blood cell types responsible for interferon production induced by phytohemagglutinin, the following observations were made. (a) In cultures containing 96-100% pure macrophages derived from blood monocytes, no interferon was detected in either the presence or the absence of phytohemagglutinin for up to 92 hr. (b) In cultures of 99.5-100% pure lymphocytes, low levels of interferon were detected in the presence, but not in the absence, of phytohemagglutinin. (c) An average fivefold increase in interferon titers occurred when pure lymphocytes were combined with the macrophages in culture with phytohemagglutinin. The peak response of interferon occurred at 68 hr after the initiation of the combined cultures. For maximum response, phytohemagglutinin was required for the duration of the culture, and both cell types in association were necessary. Medium from phytohemagglutinin-stimulated macrophages or lymphocytes could not substitute for the corresponding intact cell. However, frozen-thawed macrophages in combination with lymphocytes and phytohemagglutinin produced an intermediate interferon response. An increase in either cell type produced an increased response in the range studied: lymphocytes, 0.45-1.8 × 106 per ml; and macrophages, 0.5-2.1 × 105 per ml. Syngeneic fibroblasts, HeLa cells, or mouse macrophages could not substitute for the human macrophages in the combined cultures with phytohemagglutinin. (d) Although all cultures producing interferon showed some degree of transformation (thymidine-3H incorporation into deoxyribonucleic acid), no direct correlation between the degree of phytohemagglutinin-induced lymphocyte transformation and the interferon titers was observed.
Lois B. Epstein, Martin J. Cline, Thomas C. Merigan