A factor(s) present in supernatants from lectin-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells promoted the production of basophil-like cells in liquid cultures of normal human bone marrow cells. The cultured basophil-like cells had lobulated or round nuclei, and the cytoplasmic granules stained metachromatically with toluidine blue and azurophilic with Giemsa. 20% of the metachromatically staining cells were peroxidase positive but not positive for nonspecific esterase. The histamine content was 0.5-2 pg/cell. The basophil-like cells released histamine upon challenge with calcium ionophore A23187 but not with compound 48/80. They also released histamine with anti-IgE when passively sensitized with human myeloma IgE. The development of basophil-like cells was promoted in a dose-dependent fashion by a factor(s) in the conditioned medium. Blocking of cell proliferation with hydroxyurea or X irradiation inhibited the development of basophil-like cells. The production of the factor was dependent on the presence of T cells. The factor was different from interleukin 2 and its molecular weight was estimated to be 25,000-40,000 by gel filtration on a Sephacryl S-200 column. Thus, human basophil-like cells derived from normal bone marrow cells can grow and differentiate in vitro under the regulation of T cells.

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