Nineteen herpes simplex virus (HSV) antigen-specific human T lymphocyte clones were established from three volunteers with recent recurrent herpes labialis. All produced interferon gamma (IFN-γ) at titres of 200 to 700 units/ml when cultured with HSV antigen and irradiated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) as filler cells. All 10 of those clones whose phenotype was determined were Leu 4, Leu 2, Leu 3. Interleukin 2 alone failed to induce IFN-γ in titres greater than 10 units/ml from these clones cultured at 10/0.2 ml/well. However, the effect of different accessory or filler cells on IFN-γ production by clones was quite marked. For example, high titres were produced when irradiated PBMC or plastic-adherent cells (predominantly monocytes) were added and low titres when macrophages and irradiated Epstein-Barr virus-transformed B (EBV-B) cells were added. When tested for HSV antigen-stimulated IFN production alone, the irradiated PBMC and adherent cells produced low titres, but no detectable interferon was produced by the others. However, with higher concentrations of EBV-B cells, low concentrations of IFN-α were occasionally produced. Irradiation strikingly reduced IFN-α production by PBMC. The IFN-α and -γ produced by accessory cells may contribute to total IFN production by priming the production by cloned cells, and acting in synergy with IFN-γ produced by the cloned cells. Alternatively, the effect may be due to the presence of permissive concentrations of other lymphokines such as the interleukins. Interferon production by cloned T lymphocytes in the presence of non-producing macrophages was maximal within 24 h, much faster than with a similar polyclonal system, although attaining lower titres. EBV-B cells from only one of three patients supported antigen-specific lymphocyte activation. Almost all cells of the three cell lines expressed DR antigens, while DS/DC antigens were also expressed on nearly all cells of the antigen-presenting line and, at lower densities, on two-thirds of the cells of the other two lines.


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