The effects of cyclosporin A (CyA) on the activation processes of cloned murine cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) have been examined. With the use of Day 7 resting cloned CTL it was possible to separate the functions of lymphokine production (macrophage-activating factor, MAF) and interleukin 2 (IL-2)-induced proliferation of these cells. The effect of CyA on each of these activities was analyzed independently. CyA was found to inhibit both receptor-mediated MAF production in response to stimulation with antigen and lectin and MAF production in response to non-receptor-mediated stimulation (by anti-Thy-1 antibodies, ionophore, and phorbol ester). Further, CyA was observed to inhibit the re-entry of these resting CTL into the cell cycle upon stimulation with IL-2. The effect of CyA on MAF production did not appear to be due to inhibition of the signal-transducing mechanism involved in this process (i.e., inositol lipid hydrolysis, calcium mobilization, and protein phosphorylation). The action of CyA on the IL-2-induced proliferation was not due to inhibition of IL-2 receptor expression or the binding of IL-2 to its receptor. Thus, CyA appeared to mediate its suppressive effects on MAF production and IL-2-induced proliferation through an action on some later step(s) in the signal pathways of these activities.
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