Pseudomonas exotoxin A, an ADP-ribosylating toxin produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, has been shown to stimulate the proliferation of murine thymocytes, which requires the participation of accessory cells. This requirement for accessory cells can be replaced by supernatant from adherent peritoneal exudate cells that have been stimulated with exotoxin A. Antibody to exotoxin A inhibits the induction of the thymocyte mitogenic activity from adherent peritoneal macrophages. However, antibody to exotoxin A had no effect on the thymocyte proliferation if the antibody was added to supernatant which contained thymocyte mitogenic activity. The thymocyte mitogenic activity was associated with a protein or protein complex with a molecular mass of greater than 10,000 daltons. D10 bioassays indicated the presence of interleukin-1 (IL-1) in the supernatant. Antibody to IL-1 inhibited the ability of supernatant to induce thymocytes to proliferate. Therefore, these data suggest that Pseudomonas exotoxin A can stimulate the production of IL-1 from adherent peritoneal cells, which induces murine thymocytes to proliferate
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