We investigated why peripheral blood mononuclear cells rigorously depleted of adherent cells by sequential incubation on plastic and nylon wool remained fully responsive to both antigenic and mitogenic signals. Nylon wool nonadherent cells (NWNA) depleted of cells expressing HLA-DR by monoclonal antibody and complement lysis did not respond to tetanus toxoid (TT) or suboptimal concentrations of phytohemagglutinin (PHA). Addition of adherent accessory cells to these NWNA HLA-DR- cells reconstituted the response to stimuli. NWNA, fractionated by discontinuous density gradient centrifugation, contained high density cells which were unresponsive alone to optimal concentrations of both TT and PHA. All the lower density fractions contained cells which were accessory for higher density cell responses to stimuli. The lowest density fraction was approximately 30% monocytes (esterase and peroxidase positive) and ≤3% B lymphocytes (surface IgG bearing). The other low density fractions contained large granular lymphocytes but rarely monocytes and no B lymphocytes. Depletion of OKT3+, OKM1+, and Leu-11+ cells from lower density cells by monoclonal antibody and complement lysis did not abolish their accessory activity, but depletion of HLA-DR+ cells or gamma irradiation of these cells decreased their accessory activity for PHA and eradicated accessory activity for TT. Thus, the responsiveness of NWNA to soluble antigenic and mitogenic signals is due, in part, to the presence of low density cells which are radiosensitive and phenotypically HLA-DR+ OKT3- OKM1- Leu-11-. Accessory activity in NWNA seems to reside, therefore, in a cell which is not a typical monocyte, natural killer cell, nor B or T lymphocyte.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology