Cytostatic Activity of in Vitro Generated Macrophages: Evidence for a Prostaglandin-Independent Reversible Cytostatic Mechanism

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Culture of spleen cells for 5 days has previously been shown to result in the generation of strongly adherent cells from nonadherent precursors. In the current report it is shown that the majority (85-95%) of adherent cells are Mac-1+, FcR+, Thy 1.2- macrophages. Expression of effector activity by these macrophages requires exposure to activating signals. Coculture of the macrophages with Con A-stimulated spleen cells results in the expression of cytostatic activity against lymphocytic and monocytic tumor cell lines. Significant cytostatic activity is apparent within 6 hr after addition of the activating cells. Culture supernates of Con A-stimulated spleen cells (CAS-CM) are not effective in inducing cytostatic activity in the adherent macrophage population either alone or in the presence of additional Con A. However, stimulation of the culture generated macrophages with LPS in the presence of CAS-CM does induce cytostatic activity. The effector cell must be metabolically active in order to effect cytostasis insofar as heat fixation of the culture generated macrophage population eliminates effector activity. Proliferation of the tumor cells is significantly reduced after a 4-hr incubation period with the activated macrophages and is reduced two- to threefold after an 8- to 12-hr incubation period. The cytostatic effect is rapidly reversible. Proliferative activity of the tumor cells returned to control level within 12-24 hr after removal from activated macrophages. Cell cycle analysis indicated that the target cells were not arrested in a single stage of cell cycle, although an increase in frequency of cells in G1-phase was observed. Fluorescence analysis of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation rate demonstrated that the rate of DNA synthesis was reduced in all of the cells in the target population and that the mean rate of BrdU incorporation of the inhibited cells was three- to fivefold lower than control cells. RNA and protein synthesis were not affected to the same degree as DNA synthesis. The cytostatic effect was not mediated by prostaglandins or thymidine insofar as addition of indomethacin and 2-deoxycytidine did not prevent the cytostatic activity of the macrophages. The supernates of activated macrophages contained little inhibitory activity especially when indomethacin was included in the culture medium (19% inhibition of tumor cell proliferation by 1:1 dilution of supernate). The activity that was present could be eliminated by dialysis against fresh culture medium using Spectrapor membranes with a 1000-Da molecular cutoff. It is concluded that in vitro generated macrophages can exert substantial cytostatic effect without the hyperproduction of toxic and/or nontoxic products characteristic of inflammatory reactions. It is suggested that this cytostasis effector mechanism may be a characteristic of immature or resident splenic macrophages whose capacity for mediator production is low.