Stimulation of T lymphocyte proliferation by monoclonal antibodies against GD3 ganglioside

J Immunol. 1987 Sep 15;139(6):1763-71.


Cell-surface gangliosides are presumed to play a role in cell growth and differentiation. With the use of monoclonal antibodies directed against GD3, a disialoganglioside expressed predominantly by cells of neuroectodermal origin, we have found that GD3 is expressed by a subpopulation of cells of the immune system including: 1) fetal thymocytes in subcortical regions and near vessels, 2) lymph node lymphocytes in interfollicular areas and near vessels, and 3) a small subset of T cells in the peripheral blood. Mouse monoclonal antibodies (two IgGs, one IgM, and F(ab')2 fragments) reacting with GD3 were found to stimulate proliferation of T cells derived from peripheral blood. Proliferation of T cells was observed even in cultures depleted of macrophages, suggesting that activation by anti-GD3 was not dependent on the presence of accessory cells. T cell proliferation was maximum between days 5 and 7 of stimulation and was preceded by expression of interleukin 2 receptors. No stimulation was observed with control antibodies of the identical isotype or with monoclonal antibodies recognizing the gangliosides GD2 or GM2. During stimulation by anti-GD3 monoclonal antibodies, there was an expansion of the GD3+ pool of T cells, but depletion of GD3+ T cells prior to stimulation abrogated the response. Proliferation induced by binding to GD3 could be augmented by exogenous interleukin 2 and phytohemagglutinin. Anti-CD3 (T3) monoclonal antibodies had little or no effect. These results demonstrate that binding to GD3 on the surface of T cells can elicit signals for T cell proliferation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • CD2 Antigens
  • Carrier Proteins / immunology
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gangliosides / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Macrophages / physiology
  • Receptors, Immunologic / immunology
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Thymus Gland / immunology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • CD2 Antigens
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Gangliosides
  • Interleukin-2
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • ganglioside, GD3