Clinical preparations of horse antilymphocyteglobulin (ALG) were found to inhibit human bone marrow granulocyte colony growth. This effect was enhanced by complement and was dose dependent, being almost complete at ALG concentrations of 100 microgram/ml. Inhibition was a property of ALG but not of normal horse globulin. However, short incubation of ALG with bone marrow cells occasionally stimulated colony growth and normal horse globulin regularly stimulated it. Three hours' incubation of bone marrow cells with ALG was needed to produce consistent colony inhibition, which was measurable as a reduction in the expected number of colonies and as a fall in the colony: cluster ratio of surviving cell aggregates. Absorption of ALG on acute myeloid leukaemia blast cells removed the inhibiting property of the ALG while preserving its lymphocytotoxic action. Serum from two patients receiving ALG treatment inhibited colony growth for up to 48 hours after ALG administration. The results suggest the presence in ALG of antibodies specifically cytotoxic to myeloid stem cells which may relate to its myleosuppressive properties in vivo, and also indicate that it should be possible to remove antimyeloid antibodies from ALG by absorption. The use of such purified ALG would have advantages in clinical bone marrow transplantation.
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