T cells can be subdivided based on cell surface markers, MHC restriction, function, and production of soluble factors. Analysis of the ability of cloned, Ia-restricted, L3T4+ T cells to induce an in vitro anti-hapten antibody response to hapten-carrier conjugates allowed the definition of three functional subtypes. To examine whether these functional subtypes also differed in the production of soluble mediators, supernatants of the cloned lines were examined for the production of T cell growth factors and factors inducing increased expression of Ia glycoproteins on small resting B cells. All of the cloned lines produced T cell growth factors that could be further differentiated by inhibition with monoclonal antibodies. None of the Ia-restricted, L3T4+ cloned T cell lines that failed to produce IL 4/BSF-1 could provide helper function. Thus, the activation of antigen-specific B cells by helper T cells appears to require IL 4/BSF-1 as a necessary but not sufficient signal for differentiation into antibody-forming cells.

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