Role of accessory cells in cytokine production by T cells in chronic B-cell lymphocytic leukemia

Thomas Decker, Thomas Flohr, Petra Trautmann, A. Javad Aman, Wolfgang Holter, Otto Majdic, Christoph Huber, Christian Peschel

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43 Scopus citations


We investigated the production of cytokines by highly purified T helper cells from B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) patients stimulated by different activation pathways, and we studied the influence of various accessory cell populations on the pattern of the secretion of cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, interferon-γ (IFN-γ), and IL-10. Neither a qualitative nor a quantitative difference in cytokine production and proliferative capacity was observed in CLL-derived purified T cells compared with normal individuals, when T cells were stimulated by different pathways, including CD3, CD2, and costimulation with CD28. Addition of autologous accessory cells (aAC), however, dramatically influenced the cytokine pattern of normal versus B-CLL-derived T cells. CLL cells as aAC caused a marked increase of IL-2, whereas IFN-γ was only slightly induced and IL-4 was not influenced. In contrast, in normal individuals addition of aAC, which predominantly consisted of monocytes, resulted in a significant increase of IFN-γ and a reduction of IL-4 secretion. IL-2 production was inhibited by higher concentrations of aAC. The increased stimulation of IL-2 production by CLL cells was not specific to the leukemic cell population, as purified B cells from normal individuals had the same effect. On the other hand, purified monocytes from CLL patients and controls both induced IFN-γ production and inhibited IL-4 secretion. After antigen-specific stimulation with tetanus toxoid, cytokine secretion was influenced by the type of aAC in a similar pattern. We conclude that T helper cells derived from patients with B-CLL are intrinsically normal and that the predominance of B cells as accessory cells in CLL significantly alters the immune function of T helper cells in vitro.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1115-1123
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes


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