Promotion of human T lymphocyte activation and proliferation by fatty acids in low density and high density lipoproteins

J. A. Cuthbert, P. E. Lipsky

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44 Scopus citations


Mitogen-induced lymphocyte DNA synthesis measured by [3H]thymidine incorporation and lymphocyte proliferation assessed by counting the number of cells were reduced by >95% when cells were cultured at low density in the absence of serum. Supplementation with either transferrin or lipoprotein alone only partially restored lymphocyte responses. Addition of both transferrin and lipoproteins of each major subclass permitted mitogen-induced lymphocyte DNA synthesis and proliferation equal to that observed in serum-containing medium. The degree of enhancement was dependent on the concentration of the lipoprotein added and could not be explained by the nonspecific addition of protein to the defined medium. The mechanisms of growth promotion by various lipoprotein fractions did not appear to be explained by provision of cholesterol to the cells. Neither cholesterol nor cholesteryl ester from endogenous sources or supplied exogenously was able to enhance mitogen-induced lymphocyte responses. In contrast, fatty acids, phopholipid, and triglyceride alone supported lymphocyte responses. Furthermore, lipoproteins retained the capacity to enhance lymphocyte responses following extraction of neutral lipid. Both low density lipoprotein and high density lipoprotein, subclass 3, increased the number of cells initially activated by mitogenic stimulation and supported the subsequent continued growth of the activated cells. Low density lipoprotein was more efficient than high density lipoprotein, subclass 3, in this latter regard. These results indicate that lipoproteins can promote maximal growth of mitogen-activated lymphocytes in transferrin-containing medium by providing growth fractors other than cholesterol necessary for initial activation and required for continued lymphocyte proliferation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3620-3627
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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