Culturing BALB/c B cells for 6 d at low cell density in the presence of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) results in the appearance of a small number of IgG plaque-forming cells (PFC). The addition of supernatants from concanavalin A (Con A)-induced alloreactive (AKR anti-B6) long-term T cell lines (PK 7.1.1a and 7.1.2) or a T cell hybridoma (FS7-6.18) to LPS-treated B cells resulted in a marked increase in IgG PFC (3--10-fold higher than in cultures treated with LPS alone. The number of induced IgG PFC was not affected by removing IgG-bearing cells on the fluorescence-activated cell sorter, indicating that T cell-derived B cell differentiation factor enhances isotype switching of sIgG- cells, rather than selecting and expanding pre-existing subpopulations of sIgG+ cells. We also investigated the subclass of IgG produced in the absence or presence of T cell factors and found that PK 7.1.1a, PK 7.1.2, and FS7-6.18 supernatants selectively increased IgG1 production. Several other T cell supernatants containing a variety of lymphokines had no effect, suggesting that PK 7.1.1a, PK 7.1.2, and FS7-6.18 lines produce factor(s) that can specifically enhance the recovery of IgG secreting cells in culture in the presence of LPS. These factors, which we have termed B cell differentiation factors, are different from interleukin 1, interleukin 2, T cell-replacing factor, colony-stimulating factor, macrophage-activating factor, and immune interferon. Our results suggest that soluble factors produced by T cell lines and hybridomas can markedly influence both the class and subclass of Ig produced by B cells.

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