Previous studies indicated that Ca++ ionophores and phorbol esters in synergy could substitute for the initial activation step of normal T lymphocytes or T cell clones leading to increased expression of receptors for the growth factor interleukin 2 (IL 2) and secretion of interleukins, with the mitogenic signal for T cell proliferation being dependent on the presence of IL 2. In this study, the question was addressed as to whether T lymphocytes activated through the Ca++ ionophore ionomycin and the phorbol ester 12-o-tetradecanoyl phorbol 3-acetate (TPA) also acquired the competence to kill relevant target cells. The results indicate that T lymphocytes from primed mice proliferate and lyse the relevant allogeneic target cells after in vitro stimulation with ionomycin plus TPA, and that T lymphocyte preparations enriched for a subpopulation bearing the Lyt-2 marker are dependent on exogeneous sources of IL 2 to proliferate and become competent killer cells, whereas preparations enriched for subpopulations bearing the L3T4 marker grow independently of exogenous IL 2.

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