Requirement for cell-to-cell contact for the immunosuppressive activity of human alveolar macrophages.

E. A. Rich, C. Cooper, Z. Toossi, M. L. Leonard, R. M. Stucky, R. T. Wiblin, J. J. Ellner

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23 Scopus citations


The ability of alveolar macrophages (AM) obtained by bronchoalveolar lavage of healthy volunteers to suppress T lymphocyte responses to the mitogen phytohemagglutinin (PHA) in vitro was investigated. AM but not monocytes (MN) inhibited responses of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to PHA as measured by incorporation of [3H]thymidine [( 3H]TdR) and interleukin-2 (IL-2) expression. Supernatants of AM generated for various periods and with various concentrations of cells did not, however, inhibit PBMC responses to PHA. To examine the role of cell contact in the inhibitory activity of AM, AM or MN were added to PBMC in 6-well plates either directly (in co-culture) or separated by a 0.45-micron filter. MN did not inhibit PBMC blastogenic responses under either condition. AM at a 1:2 ratio with PBMC inhibited blastogenesis by 75 +/- 11% (mean +/- SD, n = 3, P less than 0.01) when cultured directly with PBMC but had no inhibitory effect on blastogenesis when physically separated from target PBMC. AM in co-culture with PBMC also inhibited PHA-stimulated IL-2 production by 70% but did not inhibit IL-2 production when AM were separated from PBMC in dual chambers. To assess the role of the cell surface in the inhibitory activity of AM, AM and MN were fixed with 2% paraformaldehyde. Neither fixed nor unfixed MN inhibited PBMC blastogenic responses, but both fixed and unfixed AM inhibited responses similarly (77 to 95%).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-294
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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