Immortalized human T cell lines were established by cotransfecting c-Ha-ras and c-myc oncogenes to lymph node lymphocytes. The cell lines kept growing for 3 months after establishment without a decrease in growth rate. The cells did not require interleukin-2(IL-2) for their growth, but addition of IL-2 stimulated the growth of these cells. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that these cells were T cells expressing CD4 or CD8 antigens. A CD4 positive (CD4+) cell line produced IL-6, indicating that the cell line belongs to helper T cells. The CD8 positive (CD8+) cell line possessed cytotoxicity to tumor cells, indicating that the cell line were killer T cells. Both cell lines were able to proliferate in serum-free medium indefinitely.
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