Acidic isoferritins, which under normal conditions are released from monocytes and macrophages, have a suppressive effect in vitro on granulocyte-macrophage, erythroid, and multipotential hematopoietic progenitor cells. Cell interactions modulating the release of acidic isoferritin-inhibitory activity (AIFIA) from human monocytes were investigated using the bone marrow granulocyte-macrophage progenitor cells as a target cell assay for assessing AIFIA. Monocytes, in the absence of T lymphocytes, released AIFIA when allowed to condition culture medium at 104 or higher concentrations of monocytes/ml. However, subpopulations of T lymphocytes modulated the release of AIFIA from monocytes. OKT8+- and OKT4+-T lymphocytes were obtained from E-rosette-positive lymphocytes by using T lymphocyte subset-specific monoclonal antibodies in either a complement-dependent cytotoxicity test to select negatively for the cells or by selection using a 'panning' procedure. OKT8+-T lymphocytes suppressed completely and OKT4+-T lymphocytes enhanced the constitutive release of AIFIA from monocytes. OKT4+ lymphocytes also induced the release of AIFIA from concentrations of 103 monocytes/ml which did not release measurable amounts of AIFIA by themselves. The release of AIFIA from monocytes involved HLA-DR+-monocytes and -T lymphocytes. Pulsing monocytes with monoclonal antibodies to framework determinants on HLA-Dr molecules, in the absence of complement, did not influence the constitutive release of AIFIA. Pulsing monocytes or T lymphocyte subpopulations with such antibodies, in the absence of complement, blocked the suppressing and inducing activities of the appropriate subpopulations of T lymphocytes. Monoclonal antibodies to common determinants shared by HLA-A, B, and C molecules did not block these cellular interactions. Treating monocytes and T lymphocytes in a complement-dependent cytotoxicity test with dilutions of the anti-HLA-DR antibodies that did not block the cellular interactions removed the populations of monocytes constitutively releasing AIFIA and the T lymphocyte subsets modulating this release. Modulation of the release of AIFIA from monocytes by T lymphocyte subpopulations required the use of autologous cells, cells from HLA-identical siblings, or unrelated donors matched for HLA-DR. Matching for only one HLA haplotype gave partial responses and this was seen in testing cells from related individuals as well as among unrelated test combinations. These cellular interactions were not detected with HLA-DR-incompatible cells differing for two HLA-DR antigens. Admixture of such HLA-DR-incompatible allogeneic cells did not interfere with the regulation of AIFIA release in the autologous cell interactions. Thus, release of AIFIA from monocytes is restricted genetically by HLA-DR at the level of T lymphocyte-monocyte interactions. The genetic determinants on the HLA-class II molecules that induce stimulation in vitro in mixed lymphocyte culture (i.e., HLA-D), however, were not involved in this effort.
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