Author(s): Ostensen ME, Thiele DL, Lipsky PE
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Abstract The effect of recombinant tumor necrosis factor-alpha (rTNF alpha) on human natural killer (NK) function was examined. Lysis of both the NK-sensitive K562 erythroleukemia line and the relatively insensitive renal carcinoma line Cur by nonadherent peripheral blood lymphocytes was significantly enhanced as a result of an 18-hr preincubation with either rTNF alpha or recombinant interleukin 2 (rIL 2). When cells were preincubated with rTNF alpha and low doses of rIL 2 (1 to 10 U/ml), marked additional augmentation of lysis of both targets was noted which was greater than that caused by either cytokine alone. Similar results were observed when responses of CD16+ large granular lymphocytes selected with the fluorescence-activated cell sorter after staining with the NK-specific monoclonal antibody Leu-11 were examined, indicating that the action of the cytokines was directly on the cytotoxic cells. Augmentation of tumor cell lysis could not be ascribed to a cytolytic activity of rTNF alpha on the targets, because no combination of rIL 2, rTNF alpha, or interferon-gamma caused lysis of K562 or Cur. By flow cytometric analysis, it was found that expression of IL 2 receptors was induced on purified CD16+ large granular lymphocytes by rTNF alpha alone and to an even greater degree by the combination of rTNF alpha and rIL 2. Additional analysis of the expression of surface antigens and blocking studies with monoclonal antibodies showed that enhanced tumor cell lysis was not caused by the augmentation of leukocyte function-associated antigen-1-mediated effector/target interactions. These data indicate that rTNF alpha alone, or in combination with rIL 2, directly augments NK cytotoxic activity.
This article was published in J Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology