The ability of insulin to influence the responsiveness of murine T lymphocytes in a culture system containing a serum substitute was documented. The presence of insulin was found to enhance the concanavalin A (Con A) reactivity of the lymphocytes. Once the cells were activated by a short-term exposure to Con A, insulin was capable of replacing Con A for the continued stimulation of the cells. This was true both for lymphocyte proliferation and for the generation of nonspecific cytotoxic T lymphocytes. The presence or absence of insulin was not found to influence the phytohemagglutinin responsiveness of the T lymphocytes. Possible reasons for the observed results are discussed in relation to a proposed model for lymphocyte activation.

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