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The assay, properties, and kinetics of human T cells forming clusters with sheep erythrocytes (CFC) in stimulated cultures

Cellular Immunology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0008-8749(77)90320-3


Abstract This study describes a new method of detecting the in vitro stimulation of lymphocytes based on the appearance of cells having the property to cluster several layers of SRBC around themselves (CFC). The formation of multilayer rosettes is temperature dependent and requires trypan-blue-excluding, metabolically active blastoid cells. Non-separated cells as well as purified T cells stimulated with allogeneic leucocytes (MLR), specific antigens, or polyclonal mitogens (PWM, Con A) gave rise to CFC. Multilayer rosettes were not formed by separate B cells. In the MLR, CFC were detected 48 hr after the beginning of cultures and increased in number thereafter just like thymidine incorporation. The response to Con A and PWM was detected earlier and gave rise to two or three peaks, the first rise in the number of CFC coinciding with the peak of thymidine incorporation but the maximum increase occuring two or three days later. Treatment of blastoid cells with a serum specific for T cells, but not with an anti-immunoglobulin serum, abolished their ability to form ordinary or multilayer rosettes. When separated, however, on a nylon wool column, CFC were more adherent than the bulk of T cells. It is suggested that CFC form a subpopulation of T cells with distinct characteristics, allowing a direct assessment of membrane changes which take place when T lymphocytes are activated in vitro.

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