Peripheral blood lymphocytes of the nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum) respond to stimulation by concanavalin A (Con A) as evidenced by increased incorporation of tritiated thymidine. Separation by means of Ficoll-Isopaque yields two or more bands and a sediment, all of which contain lymphocytes responsive to Con A. Only the bottom cells react to phytohemagglutinin (PHA). This reaction cannot be detected in the unseparated lymphocyte population. Thus, only a unique subset of lymphocytes appears to be responsive to PHA and is probably blocked in its response by other cells. The findings suggest that differentiation toward Con A responsiveness may have preceded phylogenetically the responsiveness to PHA. Judging by the requirement for high concentrations of both mitogens the receptor sites on shark lymphocytes appear to be present in lower densities than on lymphocytes of higher vertebrates.
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