The effects of activated leukocyte products on embryonic development were assessed by adding mouse and human leukocyte culture supernatants and purified murine and human lymphokines and monokines to mouse embryos in tissue culture. Supernatants from mitogen-stimulated and mixed lymphocyte cultures arrested embryonic development at the two-cell to morula stage. Of a panel of six individual lymphokines and monokines tested for effects in this system, both murine and human forms of the lymphokines colony-stimulating factor, interferon-gamma, and human B cell growth factor significantly arrested embryonic development over a wide concentration range. The monokines, interleukin 1 and tumor necrosis factor, also had significant effects but only at high doses. These results indicate that products of activated lymphocytes and macrophages can have detrimental effects on preimplantation embryos. Early abortion could result from local (intrauterine) production of such embryotoxic factors by activated lymphocytes and macrophages in response to stimulation by microorganisms or reproductive tissue antigens.

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