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Publication Title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


Geisel School of Medicine


Transformation of T lymphocytes, induced by treatment with periodate or with neuraminidase plus galactose oxidase, requires the participation of accessory cells. Procedures were developed for the fractionation of rat lymph node cells, by which most of the lymphocytes can be recovered as a major population of cells that do not respond to mitogenic stimulation unless accessory cells from a separated minor population are added. Further purification led to a 1000-fold overall increase in accessory activity per cell, with a 50-70% yield. The purest preparations were virtually free of macrophages and contained more than 90% typical dendritic cells. Maximum responses occurred at a ratio of only one dendritic cell per 200 periodate-treated lymphocytes. This evidence thus indicates strongly that in rats, dendritic cells--not macrophages--function as accessory cells. Further, the number of dendritic cells in a preparation governed the magnitude of the mitogenic response and was limiting in the case of unfractionated lymph node cells. In addition, when oxidized with periodate or with neuraminidase plus galactose oxidase, the dendritic cell served as a very potent indirect stimulator of untreated responder lymphocytes. Both functions of the dendritic cell appeared to lack species specificity, since mouse dendritic cells were very active when tested with rat responder lymphocytes. A soluble factor (accessory cell-replacing factor), produced by cultures of lymph node or spleen cells subjected to oxidative mitogenesis, enabled otherwise unresponsive mitogen-treated lymphocytes to respond. Dendritic cells were required for the production of this factor but may not be solely responsible for its production.

Original Citation

Klinkert WE, LaBadie JH, O'Brien JP, Beyer CF, Bowers WE. Rat dendritic cells function as accessory cells and control the production of a soluble factor required for mitogenic responses of T lymphocytes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1980;77(9):5414-5418. doi:10.1073/pnas.77.9.5414