Antigen-specific T cell proliferation debate

Luis Favila lfavila at VMREDIPN.IPN.MX
Fri Oct 24 11:02:27 EST 1997

>I am having a debate with an colleague over the interpretation of some
>results from a cellular proliferation assay using [3-H] thymidine
>incorporation.  He argues that the cellular proliferation observed when
>human PBMC are stimulted in vitro with an antigen is direct measurement
>of antigen-specific T cell proliferation.  He argues that there is
>published data supporting him but he cannot remember where he read it.
>I disagreed with him stating that T cells are not the only cells that
>are going to proliferate following antigenic stimulation of whole PBMC.
>Which one of us is right and could you possibly provide us with any
>Thanks Scott
Scott asks a very interesting, and old question, about if in
antigen-specific induced proliferation assays one is only measuring the
proliferation of antigen-sensitive cells. I can provide a quite old
reference that, for me, it proves quite clearly that non antigen-sensitive
cells are involved and so, measured, in the proliferative response. The
reference is: Carlos Larralde, Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 133:1175,1970. In
case you cannot unbury this reference from your library, the experiment was
to mix male thoracic lymphoid cells from PPD-immunized rats with the same
kind of cells from non-immunized female rats (rats were syngeneic). After
PPD stimulation, metaphases were counted and karyotyped. A significant
higher number of female cells (non antigen-sensitive) in metaphase was found
in PPD activated cultures compared to the same cultures without PPD.
I am sure there must be more recent references that address this question
but I like this one because of its simple, clever and technically

I hope this contributes to the discussion.

Luis Favila
Department of Immunology
National School of Biological Sciences 
Mexico City

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