To investigate the specific nature of the autologous mixed lymphocyte reaction (AMLR), we applied a method in which mixtures of NY-nonadherent responder cells and NY-adherent stimulator cells were treated with neuraminidase before culture and then cultured to assay the AMLR. This method produced a marked enhancement of DNA replication in the responder cells and the results were reproducible, regardless of the individuals tested. Using this method, we were able to make the following observations regarding the specific nature of the AMLR. (i) The AMLR is an IL-2-independent reaction, as revealed by bioassay to detect the presence of IL-2 by a blocking test using anti-IL-2R sera and as shown by the absence of mRNA for IL-2 in Northern hybridization. (ii) It is also HLA-DR dependent as proven by the fact that anti-DR sera almost completely inhibited the reaction. (iii) The AMLR was also found to induce the generation of activated CD4+ helper T cells in direct response to stimulation by NY-adherent cells, in which HLA-DR antigens were involved, (iv) Also, it induced the generation of CD4- CD8- double-negative (DN) lymphocytes, including γδ T cells with a cytotoxic activity against NK-resistant target cells and with a variety of lymphocyte activation markers (CD56, HLA-DR, CD25, transferrin receptors, CD38, and LFA-1). However, the AMLR did not induce the generation of NK cell markers CD16 and CD57. (v) The DN lymphocytes and γδ T cells appeared to be generated from the precursors of CD4-CD8- DN cells, in direct response to the stimulator cells. These results strongly suggest that the AMLR may be a phenomenon which induces the proliferative response of γδ T cells and their precursors, in addition to that of αβ T cells, particularly of CD4+ helper T Cells.
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