Cultured mononuclear cells from human peripheral blood produce a soluble factor (MCF) that stimulates collagenase and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) release by cultured rheumatoid synovial cells up to several hundred fold. These target rheumatoid synovial cells lack conventional macrophage markers. To determine which mononuclear cells are the source of MCF, purified populations of monocyte-macrophages, thymus-derived (T) lymphocytes, and bone marrow-derived (B) lymphocytes were prepared. The monocyte-macrophages alone produced levels of MCF that were proportional to cell density but unaffected by phytohemagglutinin or pokeweed mitogen. No detectable collagenase activity was produced by the cultured monocyte-macrophages or lymphocytes. Purified T lymphocytes produced levels of MCF approximately or equal to 1--3% those of purified monocyte-macrophages in the presence or absence of the above lectins. Purified T lymphocytes modulated the production of MCF by the monocyte-macrophages, however, in a manner dependent upon relative cell densities and the presence of lectins. For example, at optimal ratios of T lymphocytes: monocyte-macrophages, MCF production was markedly stimulated by pokeweed mitogen. Thus, interactions of T lymphocytes and monocyte-macrophages could be important in determining levels of MCF, which regulate collagenase and PGE2 production by target synovial cells in inflammatory arthritis.
J M Dayer, J Bréard, L Chess, S M Krane