Release of lymphokines after infection with Epstein-Barr-virus in vitro .2. A monocyte-dependent inhibitor of interleukin-1 down-regulates the production of interleukin-2 and interferon-gamma in rheumatoid-arthritis
Epstein Barr virus (EBV)-infection of normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in vitro induces IFN-alpha secretion from B cell and natural killer (NK) cell populations, and IFN-gamma secretion from T cells. IFN-gamma depends on prior elaboration of IL 2 and IL 1 that originates from monocytes and NK cells. PBMC from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients released moderately elevated levels of IFN-alpha (236 +/- 62 U/ml vs 168 +/- 34 in normals). In contrast, IFN-gamma was significantly lower in RA (88 +/- 34 U/ml vs 209 +/- 32) with an associated deficit in IL 2. A monocyte-dependent factor was shown to be responsible for this deficit, since monocyte depletion of RA cultures normalized the levels of IL 2 and IFN-gamma. Significantly lower levels of IL 1 activity were present in the supernatants of RA PBMC cultures as compared with normal cultures, and this was shown to be associated with presence of a nondialyzable IL 1 inhibitor. This inhibitor was capable of preventing the IL 1-dependent synthesis of IL 2 and IFN-gamma by normal PBMC. Exogenous IL 1 or IL 2 restored the deficient IFN-gamma secretion in RA PBMC. Thus, the deficient ability of RA lymphocytes to control EBV infection may be secondary to impairment of a monocyte-T cell interaction at the level of IL 1.