Biochemical and Biological Properties of Interleukin-3
Studies of the sequence of lymphocyte differentiation and the identification of factors associated with differentiation have been important but difficult areas of research. In part the difficulty arises from the complexity of the regulation. In T-cell differentiation a variety of experimental approaches have demonstrated a sequence involving the initial commitment of a bone marrow stem cell population, the maturation of this population in the thymus, and finally functional differentiation which occurs following antigenic stimulation. The last step in differentiation resulting in the generation and expansion of fully functional cytotoxic T cells can be demonstrated to be due to interleukin-2 (IL-2). Conceivably, comparable events may be involved in the differentiation of functional helper T cells capable of producing a variety of lymphokines including IL-2. The factors which regulate the differentiation of precursors of either helper or cytotoxic T cells are not known. The requirement for the thymic microenvironment for this phase of T-cell differentiation has been well established and represents the basis for studies of thymus derived factors capable of promoting T-cell differentiation. Studies directed at identifying factors which regulate the differentiation of “prothymocytes” from bone marrow stem cell populations have been more limited due to the lack of appropriate assays for this stage of differentiation.
KeywordsConditioned Medium Lymphoma Cell Line Splenic Lymphocyte Peripheral Lymphoid Tissue Thymic Microenvironment
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