We have applied purification strategies similar to those used to purify murine dendritic cells to human peripheral blood in an attempt to enrich for stimulators of the human mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR). Equilibrium density centrifugation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells yields a population of low density cells that are potent stimulators of a human MLR. The stimulator cells are Dr+, nonlymphocytic, and weakly adherent. Strongly adherent monocytes, also present in the low-density cell population, do not stimulate a human MLR. This contrasts with other human MLR studies that ascribe stimulatory activity to adherent monocytes, and it indicates functional and morphological heterogeneity among monocytes.
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