Dissociated production of interleukin-2 and immune (gamma) interferon by phytohaemagglutinin stimulated lymphocytes in healthy infants

Clin Exp Immunol. 1985 Feb;59(2):505-11.


Cord blood lymphocytes were stimulated with phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) to produce interleukin-2 (IL-2) and immune interferon (IFN-gamma). On PHA stimulation, cord blood lymphocytes produced efficiently IL-2 as much as adult ones. Antiviral activity generated on PHA stimulation was shown to consist mainly of IFN-gamma as assessed by the sensitivity to pH 2.0 treatment and neutralization with anti-human IFN-gamma antibody. In contrast to IL-2 production, cord blood lymphocytes released extremely low levels of IFN-gamma following PHA stimulation. The producing ability of IFN-gamma by lymphocytes on PHA stimulation gradually increased with child growth, but was significantly low at 1-2 years of age as compared with adult controls. Around 3 years of age or later, the producing ability of IFN-gamma by lymphocytes on PHA stimulation attained levels comparable to those of adult cells. These results suggested that IL-2 producing ability of lymphocytes appeared to be at a mature stage at birth, whereas lymphocytes in the early human life might be relatively deficient in their ability to produce IFN-gamma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Fetal Blood / immunology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis*
  • Kinetics
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Male
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Phytohemagglutinins / pharmacology


  • Interleukin-2
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Interferon-gamma