Antiserum to human gamma interferon (IFN gamma) was produced in rabbits immunized with partially purified (10(4.8) to 10(6.2) antiviral U/mg protein) staphylococcal enterotoxin A-induced IFN gamma. Staphylococcal enterotoxins, phytohemagglutinin M, concanavalin A, and pokeweed mitogen-induced antiviral activity in human leukocyte cultures was neutralized to undetectable levels by the antiserum. However, human leukocyte interferon (IFN alpha), human fibroblast interferon (IFN beta), and mouse interferons were not neutralized by the antiserum. After determining the antiserum was specific for IFN gamma and did not neutralize other known types of interferon, it was used with antibody to human IFN alpha to demonstrate the type(s) of interferon stimulated by some new inducers and antigens. Galactose oxidase- and calcium ionophore-induced interferons were neutralized to undetectable levels by the antiserum to IFN gamma. Interferon produced in leukocyte cultures from tuberculin-negative individuals stimulated with tuberculin-purified protein derivative or old tuberculin was IFN alpha, whereas interferon from tuberculin-positive individuals was a combination of alpha and gamma IFN. In addition, the antiserum neutralized the anticellular and natural killer cell enhancement activities of IFN gamma preparations. The specificity of this antiserum for IFN gamma indicates that it is an additional, powerful tool for identifying and classifying known and new interferons produced in vitro or in vivo and for investigating the role(s) of IFN gamma during the course of infectious, neoplastic, and autoimmune diseases.

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