Recently published reports suggest that the activation of protein kinase C (PKC) plays an important role in the activation pathway of many cell types. In this study, we examined the role of PKC in human T-cell proliferation, IL-2 production, and IL-2R expression, when cultured with the mitogen PHA, the PKC inhibitor H-7, and H-7 control HA1004. H-7 inhibited the PHA-stimulated [3H]thymidine uptake, IL-2 production, and IL-2R expression in a dose-related manner. Further, we found H-7 inhibited T-cell proliferation, IL-2 production, and IL-2 mRNA from PHA plus PMA-stimulated cultures. We also found that H-7 inhibited the early-stage activation of PHA-stimulated cells. The presence of exogenous purified human IL-2 or rIL-4 partly reversed the immunosuppression caused by H-7. In contrast, HA1004 had no effect on cell proliferation, IL-2 production, or IL-2R expression. Our results demonstrate that PKC activation is one major pathway through which T-cells become activated.
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