Identification of IL-6 as a T cell-derived factor that enhances the proliferative response of thymocytes to IL-4 and phorbol myristate acetate Academic Article uri icon


  • Thymocytes undergo a vigorous proliferative response when stimulated with a combination of IL-4 and PMA. We have found that conA-induced supernatants from a number of Th cell clones could enhance the level of IL-4/PMA-induced proliferation of unseparated thymocytes 0.5- to 2-fold and of peanut agglutinin-positive thymocytes 2- to 10-fold. These supernatants did not contain IL-2 or IFN-gamma, and the enhancing activity could be chromatographically separated from IL-3, -4, -5, and granulocyte/macrophage CSF. The possibility that the thymocyte enhancement factor contained in these supernatants was IL-6 was suggested when murine rIL-6 was found to have similar activity. Further evidence for the identity of these two factors was obtained when an IL-6 assay, based on plasmacytoma growth, was used to test column fractions showing thymocyte enhancement. All fractions active in the thymocyte enhancement assay also had activity in the plasmacytoma growth assay. These observations suggest that the thymocyte-stimulating activity present in the T cell supernatants was due to IL-6.


  • Hodgkin, PD
  • Bond, MW
  • O'Garra, A
  • Frank, G
  • Lee, F
  • Coffman, RL
  • Zlotnik, A
  • Howard, M

publication date

  • January 1, 1988

has subject area