A new macrophage cell line with activated character and unique morphology was isolated by selecting adherent cells from the human monocytic cell line THP-1. The original THP-1 cells had been cultured for more than 9 years using 25 cm2 flasks, when cells with a different morphology appeared, adhering to the bottoms of the culture flasks. These were selected by discarding floating nonadherent cells at every subculture. Enrichment of adherent THP-1 cells with long processes proceeded during the cultivation. These adherent THP-1 showed remarkable phenotypic changes, not only morphologically, but also functionally. Namely, increased phagocytic activity, HLA-DR expression and MLR stimulator activity were remarkable. This adherent cell line was designated as activated-THP-1 (A-THP-1), since it demonstrated characteristics of activated macrophages continuously without exogenous stimulation. A cloned A-THP-1 cell line (A-THP-1 C1) also showed the same features and contained about 10% multinucleated giant cells probably caused by cell fusion. This A-THP-1 cell line, the first activated macrophage cell line to be established, provides a good model for understanding of activation mechanisms of macrophages and multinucleation. In this paper, morphological, immunological, and biological characters of this cell line are described.
1998 Tohoku University Medical Press