We previously showed that a small proportion of the CD4+ human lymphocytes express the C3bi receptor (CD11). In the present investigation these cells were found to have the homogeneous morphology of granular lymphocytes. Between 70 and 80% of the cells reacted with antibody Leu-7, but they did not express Fc receptors and had no spontaneous cytotoxic activity against the NK-sensitive cell line K562. The CD11+/CD4+ cells uniformly expressed CD3 and could be induced to express IL 2 receptors by activation with PHA or anti-CD3 antibody. Compared with unfractionated T cells, however, CD11+/CD4+ granular lymphocytes had a reduced ability to produce IL 2 after stimulation with PHA or anti-CD3 antibody. Nevertheless, the CD11+/CD4+ subset generated specific allocytotoxicity after stimulation with allogeneic cells and culture in IL 2. Furthermore, the CD11+/CD4+ cells also proliferated after stimulation with tetanus toxoid and PPD. Thus some cells of the CD11+/CD4+ subset are capable of antigen-specific responses. These results indicate that certain CD11+ cells with granular morphology are mature T lymphocytes.

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