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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The tumorigenicity of IL-2 gene-transfected murine M-3D melanoma cells is determined by the magnitude and quality of the host defense reaction: NK cells play a major role.

Transfection of a variety of tumor lines with the IL-2 gene strongly reduces their tumorigenic potential when applied to either euthymic or athymic animals. To elucidate the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon, we inoculated IL-2-transfected M-3D melanoma (M-3D-IL-2) cells into DBA/2 mice immunosuppressed by gamma-irradiation. Animals thus treated developed pigmented tumors, suggesting that IL-2 transfection of melanoma cells, instead of altering their neoplastic growth properties, renders them capable of evoking a tumoricidal host response. To define the critical effector cell, we injected M-3D-IL-2 and, for control purposes, nontransfected M-3D cells into DBA/2 recipients and analyzed the injection site. We found that 1) IL-2-expressing M-3D cells induce a much stronger inflammatory reaction than wild-type cells, 2) in both instances the infiltrate consists mainly of macrophages (40-60%) and granulocytes (30-40%), and 3) only the infiltrate of M-3D-IL-2 cell deposits contains a minor fraction of NK cells (approximately 1-2%). When we reconstituted sublethally irradiated animals with various leukocyte subsets, we found that unfractionated as well as macrophage-depleted peritoneal lavage cells but not NK cell-depleted peritoneal lavage cells were able to suppress the growth of IL-2-expressing M-3D cells. In vivo leukocyte depletion experiments showed that the NK cell-depleting asialo-GM1 antiserum, but not anti-macrophage and/or anti-granulocyte reagents, restored the tumorigenicity of M-3D-IL-2 cells. Our results indicate that the inflammatory tissue response evoked by IL-2-transfected cancer cells includes the attraction and/or activation of NK cells and that, in the experimental system used, these cells are critically needed for successfully controlling cancer growth in vivo.[1]


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