Phenotype and frequency of cells secreting IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IFN and TNF-alpha in human peripheral blood

Cytokine. 1995 Nov;7(8):815-22. doi: 10.1006/cyto.1995.0098.


The phenotype and frequency of cells in normal human peripheral blood spontaneously secreting IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IFN and TNF-alpha ex vivo was determined using ELIspot assays. CD4+ T cells were the dominant source of IL-2 and IL-4 while multiple cell types (primarily CD8+ lymphocytes) produced IFN. Fewer than 0.05% of mononuclear cells were spontaneously secreting these T cell derived factors. By comparison, IL-6, IL-10 and TNF-alpha were produced by 0.7-20% of PBMC. The primary sources of the latter cytokines were CD14+ macrophages/monocytes. A significant positive correlation was found in the frequency of cells secreting IL-6, IL-10 and TNF-alpha ex vivo, suggesting that the release of such factors was coordinately regulated. No such correlation was found among IL-2, IL-4 and IFN secreting cells, indicating that the production of predominantly T cell derived cytokines was regulated independently.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD / blood
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Interferons / biosynthesis*
  • Interferons / blood
  • Interleukin-10 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-4 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Interleukins / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukins / blood
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors / blood
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis*


  • Antigens, CD
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukins
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferons