Exposure of monocytes to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) during, but not after, adherence purification increased their cytolytic activity in short-term 51Cr-release assays against K562 target cells. In the absence of LPS only a minority of monocytes could be recovered by adherence. With 1 ng/ml to 10 μg/ml LPS present during the 1-hr adherence procedure, however, monocytes spread more extensively on serum-coated plastic and glass surfaces and virtually all of the monocytes in a mononuclear leukocyte preparation were recovered in the adherent fraction. While increasing the recovery of monocytes threefold, LPS exposure during adherence also increased monocyte purity as assessed by peroxidase staining, morphology, and indirect immunofluorescence with monoclonal Mo2. The proportion of Leu-11-positive NK cells in the adherent fraction did not change. Depletion of NK cells by treatment with anti-Leu-11b and complement eliminated cytolytic activity from the nonadherent, but not from the adherent, fraction isolated with LPS. Thus, addition of LPS during adherence produced a monocyte preparation with enhanced cytolytic activity not attributable to NK contaminants. To test whether LPS caused production of lymphokines that activate monocytes, we tested supernatants of unseparated mononuclear leukocytes for the capacity to stimulate purified monocytes for cytolysis. Such supernatants stimulated monocytes more effectively than LPS alone. We conclude that LPS stimulates monocytes for cytolysis most effectively during adherence purification because LPS allows the recovery of weakly adherent monocytes with high cytolytic capacity; also, LPS may stimulate production of lymphokines that further augment monocyte cytolytic activity.
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