Suppression of immunoglobulin-secreting cells from human peripheral blood by toxic-shock-syndrome toxin-1

J Infect Dis. 1986 Apr;153(4):772-9. doi: 10.1093/infdis/153.4.772.


Toxic-shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1), a nonspecific T lymphocyte mitogen, was shown to cause the suppression of immunoglobulin-secreting cells (ISCs) generated in pokeweed mitogen (PWM)-stimulated cultures of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMs). Greater than 90% suppression of the PWM-stimulated ISC response was achieved when 2 X 10(6) PBMs were cultured in the presence of 1 microgram of TSST-1. The nonspecific suppression induced by the toxin was dose related; amounts of TSST-1 as low as 1.0 ng/2 X 10(6) cultured cells caused significant suppression of the ISC response. TSST-1-induced suppression was due to the activation of a population of cells that secreted a soluble factor that mediated the resulting suppression. PBMs were activated by a 24-hr preincubation of 2 X 10(6) cells in the presence of 1 microgram of TSST-1 followed by repeated washing to remove residual toxin. These cells, when co-cultured with unstimulated PBMs and PWM, suppressed the normal ISC response. The supernatant factor, active at volumes of 10 microliters/2 X 10(6) PBMs, was generated by harvesting the supernatant fluid of TSST-1-activated cells. The results of these in vitro experiments confirm that TSST-1 is an immunosuppressing agent that affects human lymphocyte function and, in such a capacity, may play a role in the development of toxic shock syndrome in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibody-Producing Cells / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / physiology
  • Bacterial Toxins*
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Enterotoxins / immunology
  • Enterotoxins / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Hemolytic Plaque Technique
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Kinetics
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Male
  • Pokeweed Mitogens / pharmacology
  • Superantigens*
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology


  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Enterotoxins
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Pokeweed Mitogens
  • Superantigens
  • enterotoxin F, Staphylococcal