Small lymphocytes respond to virus infections with the synthesis of interferon. But viruses and their nucleic acids are not the only inducer. Recently we have demonstrated that specific antilymphocyte globulins (ALG) (Falcoff 1972; Falcoff, Oriol & Iscaki, 1972), and its divalent F(ab′) fragments (Falcoff 1972), are also able to induce interferon synthesis. A number of unrelated non-virus substances share this property: phytohaemagglutinin (Wheelock, 1965), concanavalin (Falcoff, unpublished results), etc.

The most remarkable difference between the two groups of inducers is the nature of the target cell: while viruses are active on many kinds of cultured cells, including lymphocytes, the second group is only active on immunocompetent cells.

The present study was undertaken in an attempt to distinguish the antivirus substance synthesized by ALG-stimulated human lymphocytes from the interferon induced in similar cultures by irradiated Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV).


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