Complementary DNA coding for human monocyte interleukin 1 (IL-1), pI 7 form, was expressed in Escherichia coli. During purification, IL-1 activity on murine T cells was associated with the recombinant protein. Homogeneous human recombinant IL-1 (hrIL-1) was tested in several assays to demonstrate the immunological and inflammatory properties attributed to this molecule. hrIL-1 induced proliferative responses in a cloned murine T cell in the presence of suboptimal concentrations of mitogen, whereas no effect was observed with hrIL-1 alone. At concentrations of 0.05 ng/ml, hrIL-1 doubled the response to mitogen (5 x 106 half maximal units/mg). Human peripheral blood T cells depleted of adherent cells underwent a blastogenic response and released interleukin 2 in the presence of hrIL-1 and mitogen. hrIL-1 was a potent inflammatory agent by its ability to induce human dermal fibroblast prostaglandin E2 production in vitro and to produce monophasic (endogenous pyrogen) fever when injected into rabbits or endotoxin-resistant mice. These studies establish that the dominant pI 7 form of recombinant human IL-1 possesses immunological and inflammatory properties and acts on the central nervous system to produce fever.
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