A subset of type 2, but not type 1, CD4 T cell clones expresses IL-3R and can be stimulated by IL-3. Expression of IL-3R on these type 2 T cell clones is induced by TCR stimulation, and subsequent stimulation by IL-3 augmented the proliferation of and IL-4 production by these cells. This augmented response is inhibited by anti-IL-4 mAb, suggesting the involvement of IL-4 in this response. In place of TCR stimulation, treatment of these type 2 CD4 T cell clones with PMA rendered them responsive to further stimulation of proliferation by IL-3, indicating the cooperation between the IL-3R-elicited signals and PKC-mediated signals in stimulating proliferation. Although the augmentation of the TCR-mediated proliferative response by IL-3 was mainly due to the increased production of IL-4, we also demonstrated the presence of IL-4-independent mechanism mediating the response to IL-3. In situ, we found that splenic T cells could be induced to respond to Il-3 by TCR stimulation. Thus, IL-3 can stimulate a specific population of T cells and influence the immune response.

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