Other investigators have previously reported that TNF has been induced from macrophages by bacteria and, more recently, from NK cells by certain tumor cells. Sendai virus has also been reported to induce TNF from macrophages. We report here that an opportunistic fungi, Candida albicans, can also induce TNF, not only from human monocytes, but also from Percoll-fractionated large granular lymphocytes (LGL) which mediate NK function. Incubation of monocytes of LGL with C. albicans for 8 h was sufficient for detection of TNF release and peak induction was observed at 24 h. Induction of TNF from LGL did not require the participation of monocytes or T cells because treatment of the LGL with CD14 or CD15 to eliminate contaminating monocytes and CD3, CD4, or CD8 to eliminate contaminating T cells did not decrease the level of TNF produced from the treated LGL. Small T cells recovered from the denser fractions of the Percoll gradient had no ability to produce TNF, even when 10% monocytes were added to the T cells to provide accessory function. The phenotype of the TNF-producing LGL was CD2+, CD11+, CD16+, NKH1+, LEU7-. The TNF produced by both monocytes and LGL was neutralized by specific monoclonal and polyclonal anti-TNF but not by monoclonal antilymphotoxin. These results indicate that TNF production is a normal response of monocytes and LGL to stimulation by fungi such as C. albicans and that the release of TNF may be related to its ability to activate effector function to control Candida growth, which we have shown earlier for neutrophils with TNF.

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