Current evidence suggests that the development of allosensitized cytotoxic T lymphocytes within sponge matrix allografts takes place primarily in situ and may be regulated by the secretory products of the cells infiltrating the graft. In vitro studies have implicated IL-2, IL-4, and IL-6 in CTL development. We have reported that TNF-alpha, macrophage colony-stimulating factor, IL-1, IFN-alpha, and IFN-beta are present in the allograft, but that IL-2 and IL-4 cannot be detected at any time using specific bioassays. In this study, we found significantly higher levels of IL-6 within the allografts compared with the syngeneic grafts. Peak IL-6 activity coincided with the appearance of allosensitized CTL in the allografts. IL-6 concentration in the serum of sponge allografted mice was less than 1% of that found in the graft. The sponge fluid exhibited both hybridoma growth factor and hepatocyte-stimulating factor activities in vitro, and both these activities were neutralized by antibody to murine IL-6 but not by antibody to murine IL-1-beta or TNF-alpha. Messenger RNA for murine IL-6 was detected in the graft-infiltrating cells. The high level of IL-6 found in the allograft coincident with the appearance of cellular immunity suggests that this cytokine might play some role in the development of allospecific CTL in vivo.
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