Evidence is presented that the ferritin-inhibitable, Ia+ monocyte progenitor in murine marrow requires two signals for stimulation of clonal proliferation. Escherichia coli K235 lipopolysaccharide (LPS) at 0.1 ng/ml enhanced macrophage colony formation by 25 to 70% in murine marrow cultures stimulated with colony-stimulating factor (CSF-1). The progenitors which responded to LPS and CSF-1 represented a distinct subpopulation. Pretreatment of marrow cells with complement plus anti-Ia, anti-H2, anti-asialo GM1, and anti-Mac-1 antibodies specifically depleted the two-signal-requiring progenitors. In addition, the same progenitors were depleted by preincubation with hydroxyurea, indicating that these cells were in cell cycle when removed from the marrow. When compared with the quiescent progenitors, the Ia+, cycling cells were more sensitive to the antiproliferative effects of interferon alpha/beta but were more resistant to inhibition by E prostaglandins. Pretreatment with T cell-specific antibodies and complement specifically enhanced cloning of quiescent progenitors without affecting cloning of the Ia+, cycling subpopulation. Moreover, rat liver ferritin at 10(-8) to 10(-10) M specifically inhibited clonal proliferation of the Ia+ progenitors. Finally, the requirement for LPS as the additional stimulant could be replaced by the addition of haplotype-specific anti-Ia antibody to CSF-stimulated cultures. In contrast to LPS, anti-IA was competitive with inhibitory ferritin in clonal proliferation of the Ia+ progenitors. The significance of these observations in regulation of monocytopoiesis is discussed.

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