Macrophage activation for tumor cell killing is a multistep pathway in which responsive macrophages interact sequentially with priming and triggering stimuli in the acquisition of full tumoricidal activity. A number of mediators have been identified which have activating capability, including in particular IFN-gamma and bacterial LPS. Although the synergistic functional response of normal macrophages to sequential incubation with these activation signals has been well-established, characterization of the intermediate stages in the activation pathway has been difficult. We have developed a model system for examination of various aspects of macrophage activation, through the use of the murine macrophage tumor cell line, RAW 264.7. These cells, like normal macrophages, exhibit a strict requirement for interaction with both IFN-gamma and LPS in the development of tumor cytolytic activity. In addition, these cells can be stably primed by the administration of gamma-radiation. In the studies reported here, we have used RAW 264.7 cells treated with IFN-gamma alone or with IFN-gamma plus LPS to stimulate the production of rat mAb probes recognizing cell surface changes occurring during the activation process. In this way we have identified three Ag associated with intermediate stages of the activation process. One Ag, TM-1, is expressed on RAW 264.7 cells primed by IFN-gamma or gamma-radiation. This surface Ag thus identifies cells at the primed cell intermediate stage of the tumoricidal activation pathway regardless of the mechanism of activation. A second Ag, TM-2, is expressed on IFN-treated RAW 264.7 cells but not on RAW 264.7 cells primed with gamma-radiation alone. Expression of this Ag can be induced by treatment of irradiated cells with IFN-gamma, but is not induced by IFN-gamma treatment of a noncytolytic cell line, WEHI-3. This Ag thus appears to be an IFN-inducible cell surface protein associated specifically with macrophage activation for tumoricidal activity. Finally, Ag TM-3 is detectable on RAW 264.7 cells primed by either IFN-gamma or gamma-radiation, after subsequent triggering of the primed cells with LPS. The addition of the mAb recognizing this antigen to the function assay of tumor cell killing can inhibit they lytic activity of both triggered cells. Thus, this Ag may play a role in the antitumor effector functions of activated macrophages. Overall, the results suggest that these mAb can serve as useful tools for identification of molecules associated with the process of macrophage activation for tumor cell killing.

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