Lymphocyte response to phytohemagglutinin: Intracellular volume and intracellular [K+]

A. Holian, C. J. Deutsch, S. K. Holian, R. P. Daniele, D. F. Wilson

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19 Scopus citations


The effect of phytohemagglutinin (PHA) on lymphocytes was examined with respect to free intracellular water volume and intracellular [K+]. At a cell concentration of 30 × 106 lymphocytes/ml in modified Hank's Buffered Salt Solution (HBSS) in the presence of 10% human AB serum, addition of PHA at 3 mg/ml resulted in a 24–27% decrease in free intracellular water space within 30 to 60 minutes and a return to control level after three hours. A larger change in intracellular water (44%) was observed under similar conditions in the absence of serum. The absolute intracellular K+ content did not change after PHA addition, but the cell water volume decrease arising from PHA addition resulted in a 29% increase in intracellular [K+] at 60 minutes. The decrease in lymphocyte water volume induced by PHA was also observed for concanavalin A which stimulates lymphocyte proliferation, but not for wheat germ lectin, an agglutinating agent which is not mitogenic. Thus, volume regulation may be closely associated with the mitogenicity of these compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-144
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1979


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