T lymphocyte clones were established from mice with acute and chronic graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) [C57B6/6 (B6) mice transplanted i.v. with LP/J spleen cells] and immune mice (LP/J mice immunized intraperitoneally with B6 spleen cells). To determine the role of leukokines in the increased collagen production that characterizes chronic GVHD, the supernatants of in vitro stimulated clones were assayed for their effect on 1) B6 embryonic fibroblast proliferation, 2) total fibroblast collagen secretion, and 3) collagen secretion per fibroblast. Four of nine chronic GVHD (CG) clones stimulated both total collagen secretion and collagen secretion per fibroblast, but none stimulated fibroblast proliferation. Six of 10 immune (I) clones stimulated fibroblast proliferation, and none stimulated collagen secretion per fibroblast. Acute GVHD (G) clones were heterogeneous; 2/10 G clones stimulated fibroblast proliferation, 5/10 stimulated total collagen secretion, and 4/10 stimulated collagen secretion per fibroblast. I and CG clones may act synergistically in vivo. The presence of CG-like clones in mice with acute GVHD suggest that the immunologic events that culminate in chronic GVHD are initiated early after transplantation.

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