IL-12 produced by antigen-presenting cells induces IL-2-independent proliferation of T helper cell clones

S. Maruo, K. Toyo-Oka, M. Oh-Hora, X. G. Tai, H. Iwata, H. Takenaka, S. Yamada, S. Ono, T. Hamaoka, M. Kobayashi, M. Wysocka, G. Trinchieri, H. Fujiwara

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62 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the role of IL-12 in proliferation of various Th cell clones (class II-alloreactive (4-86 and 4-55) and keyhole limpet hemocyanin + self I-E(k)-reactive (9-16)) following stimulation with Ag on APCs. These clones proliferated in response to stimulation with rIL-2, rIL-12, or Ag/APC. The proliferation induced by Ag/APC stimulation was not affected by anti-IL- 2 Ab but was markedly inhibited by anti-IL-12 Abs. Consistent with this finding was the absence of detectable IL-2 activity in culture supernatants 12 to 48 h after Ag/APC stimulation, and the detection of significant levels of IL-12 in an Ab-capture bioassay. IL-12 was produced within 12 h after Ag/APC stimulation, reaching a peak after 18 to 24 h. The production of IL- 12 in cultures of Th clones and APC contrasted with the production of IL-2 but not IL-12 upon allostimulation of primary T cells and the inhibition of their proliferation exclusively by anti-IL-2 Abs. Analysis of the expression of IL-12-binding sites on Th cells revealed low levels of IL-12 receptors in resting Th clones but high IL-12R levels 2 to 3 days after Ag/APC stimulation, declining gradually thereafter. The changes in IL-12R expression levels correlated closely with the IL-12 responsiveness of Th populations at various times after Ag/APC stimulation; Th populations obtained 3 and 10 days after Ag/APC stimulation exhibited very high and weak or marginal responsiveness to rIL-12, respectively, whereas the responses to rIL-2 were comparable in both Th populations. These results indicate that the Ag/APC- stimulated proliferation of terminally differentiated Th clones, in contrast to naive T cells, depends on the production of IL-12 by APC and on the simultaneous up-regulation of IL-12R on Th cells rather than on an IL-2 autocrine mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1748-1755
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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