Ferro-mitogens: Iron-containing compounds with lymphocyte-stimulatory properties Academic Article Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Hemangioblasts
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2


  • Ferric ammonium citrate (FAC) is nonmitogenic for human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBM) but has a potent mitogenic activity in the presence of IL-2. FAC in the presence of IL-2 increases the number of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBM) expressing receptors for IL-2 and transferrin. FAC also markedly stimulates human PBM treated with supraoptimal, nonmitogenic concentrations of Con A. FAC, in the presence of IL-2, is a T-cell mitogen with a stringent requirement for macrophages. FAC stimulates the production of TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma in human PBM, and this effect is potentiated by IL-2. Thiourea and 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole selectively inhibit mitogenesis induced by FAC, indicating that oxygen radicals or peroxidase may mediate the triggering signal induced by this mitogen. In addition to hemin, as we have previously reported, and FAC, a variety of iron-containing proteins have lymphocyte stimulatory properties in combination with IL-2. They include horseradish peroxidase, cytochrome c, myoglobin, and transferrin. We have given the name ferro-mitogens to this group of compounds.

publication date

  • April 1991



  • Academic Article


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0008-8749(91)90105-K

PubMed ID

  • 2015630

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 295

end page

  • 305


  • 133


  • 2