The mechanism whereby lithium augments mitogen-stimulated T-cell proliferation was investigated. Lithium in a concentration of 5mM caused a significant increase in interleukin 2 (IL-2) production after phytohemagglutinin (PHA) stimulation. Lithium also caused an increase in interleukin 1 production from peripheral blood monocytes. Lithium did not influence the expression of IL-2 receptors on T-cells. However, lithium did result in increased proliferative response to IL-2 in an IL-2 responsive cell line. Thus, lithium influences the T-cell proliferation response to mitogens in several ways, by stimulation of lymphokine and monokine production as well as by augmenting the response of IL-2 responsive cells to IL-2.
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