T cell proliferation in response to antigen requires the presence of an antigen-presenting accessory cell. The accessory cell most commonly associated with antigen presentation has been the macrophage (Mo). This study demonstrates that B cells in the form of Epstein Barr virus-transformed B lymphoblasts (EBV-B) are able to present tetanus toxoid (TT) to human T cells and induce proliferation of these cells. T cells freshly isolated from peripheral blood were shown to undergo blast transformation and proliferation in response to TT and irradiated EBV-B cells. Furthermore, TT-reactive T cell blasts were shown to proliferate in the presence of EBV-B cells and TT, but not with other antigens. There was a progressive increase to a plateau in T blast proliferation with increasing numbers of EBV-B cells added to the culture. The concentration of TT required for optimal antigen presentation was similar for EBV-B cells and for Mo. TT-specific cloned T cells also proliferated in response to TT and EBV-B cells and could be continuously grown in culture with TT, interleukin 2-containing supernatant, and EBV-B cells in place of autologous Mo. EBV-B cells pulsed with TT could also act as antigen-presenting cells. The proliferative response of T cell clones to TT in the presence of EBV-B cells was inhibited by antiserum to human p29,34 glycoprotein but not by anti-beta 2-microglobulin. This inhibition was shown to result from interaction with Ia-like determinants on EBV-B cells. These results indicate that B lymphoblastoid cells in man are able, like Mo, to present antigen to T cells in the context of Ia-like determinants.
- Copyright © 1982 by American Association of Immunologists