In this study, the capacity of normal and neoplastic B lymphocytes to release interleukin 1 (IL 1) has been investigated. Peripheral blood B cells from normal donors were isolated by depletion of E rosetting cells and by positive selection of cells expressing surface immunoglobulin (sIg) or the B1 marker. Peripheral blood B cells from patients with B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) were purified by removal of E rosetting cells followed by complement-mediated cytotoxicity with selected monoclonal antibodies. All of the normal B cell suspensions and the large majority of the B-CLL cells produced in culture high amounts of IL 1 in the absence of any apparent stimulus. Control experiments ruled out that small numbers of monocytes in the B cell suspensions could represent the source of IL 1. These data support the contention that B cells participate to the immune response as accessory cells for T cell activation not only by physically presenting antigen, but also by releasing IL 1.

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