We have previously shown that when splenocytes are obtained from mice undergoing graft vs host disease (GVHD), and then placed in culture, IFN-beta is produced spontaneously in supernatants without any stimulus. Thus, when B10.D2 spleen cells are injected into sublethally irradiated BALB/c recipient mice, in vitro splenic IFN-beta production is readily apparent between days 10 to 20 post-transplantation. In the present study, experiments were carried out to characterize the cell population(s) responsible for spontaneous IFN-beta production from GVHD spleen cells. Specific antibody and C lysis of selected cell types, including T cells, B cells, and NK cells, failed to abrogate in vitro IFN production. However, IFN-producing cells from GVHD splenocytes were nylon wool adherent and could be isolated using discontinuous Percoll gradient centrifugation from the upper most large cell fractions. IFN production was also partially resistant to irradiation. Using indirect immunofluorescence and flow cytometry, IFN production was shown to be associated with MAC-1 positive cells. MAC-1 negative splenocytes demonstrated no spontaneous IFN production. Treatment of GVHD spleen cells with silica, a selective toxin for phagocytic cells, resulted in a complete inhibition of IFN production. Thus, in vitro IFN production from GVHD splenocytes appeared to come from cells having a phenotype associated with macrophages. This in vitro IFN production by macrophages represents a unique aspect of GVHD which is not typically found in tissues of normal mice.

This content is only available via PDF.