Interleukin-12 stimulates B cell growth by inducing IFN-gamma

Cell Immunol. 1996 Mar 15;168(2):133-40. doi: 10.1006/cimm.1996.0059.


Human interleukin-12 (IL-12) is a 70-kDa polypeptide that activates human natural killer cells. It has been purified from the culture supernatant of a human Epstein-Barr virus-transformed B cell line and cloned. We show that native as well as recombinant IL-12 promoted growth of Staphylococcus aureus Cowan I strain (SAC) or anti-mu antibody-activated B cells in a dose-dependent manner. IL-12 also acted in synergy with IL-2 in growth and differentiation of SAC-activated B cells. Since anti-interferon (IFN)-gamma antibody completely abrogates B-cell growth factor (BCGF) activity of IL-12, the BCGF activity is mediated by IFN-gamma. This conclusion is clearly supported by the results that IL-12 indeed induced IFN-gamma production by activated B cells. These results suggest that the B cell proliferative effect of IL-12 may be mediated by autocrine IFN-gamma.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD20 / biosynthesis
  • Antigens, CD20 / genetics
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • B-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Drug Synergism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics
  • Interferon-gamma / physiology*
  • Interleukin-12 / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-2 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-4 / pharmacology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Palatine Tonsil / cytology
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Stimulation, Chemical


  • Antigens, CD20
  • Interleukin-2
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma