Biological activity

Pokeweed mitogens have a mitogenic activity on murine T and B lymphocytes. All the fractions (Pal-Pa5) stimulate murine T cells over a wide range of concentrations. The mitogen in the Pa2 fractions has the strongest activity and the Pa4 and Pa5 fractions have the least effective mitogens. However, only the molecule in the Pal fraction stimulates murine B cells in the absence of T cells.

The effects of PWM on human lymphocytes have been investigated mainly using impure mixtures of PWM. This has led to confusing and variable results, depending on the amounts of each active molecule present in the preparation. Although the Pa2 fraction showed the strongest activity for murine T cells, in studies using human T cells, both Pal and Pa2 had approximately the same potency. Peripheral blood B lymphocytes cultured alone with PWM did not respond with proliferation or cells was found to be dependent on T cells and macrophages. T Cell-depleted tonsillar mononuclear cells as well as peripheral blood lymphocytes had markedly diminished Ig production following PWM stimulation. The Ig production by T cell-depleted mononuclear cells could be reconstituted by cell-free supernatant obtained from PWM-stimulated peripheral blood lymphocytes or T cell-rich fraction. This probably accounts for the lack of HLA restriction for B cell stimulation. Furthermore, the PWM-induced immunoglobulin production was found to be inhibited by anti-IL-6 antibody and thus is dependent on IL-6.

See also: Antibodies, secretion; Interleukin 6; Phy-tohemagglutinin (PHA); Polyclonal activators.

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