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

Tributyrin enhances the cytotoxic activity of interleukin-2/interleukin-12 stimulated human natural killer cells against LS 174T colon cancer cells in vitro.

Tributyrin has been shown to be cytostatic to tumor cells by inducing differentiation and apoptosis. On the other hand, immunological NK cells can kill tumor cells, particularly when stimulated with interleukin-2 (IL-2) and/or interleukin-12(IL-12). However, little is known about whether and how both antitumor mechanisms act together, although in vivo such an interaction must exist. Here we demonstrate in vitro, that pretreatment of human LS 174T colon cancer cells with nontoxic concentrations of tributyrin augments the sensitivity to spontaneous NK cell activity two-fold. However, when NK cells have been activated with an optimized combination of IL-2 and IL-12, the immunocytotoxicity increases up to five-fold (from 14% to 70%), versus a 3.8-fold increase against untreated cancer cells. These effects are accompanied by increased IFN-gamma secretion and decreased TGF-beta1 secretion. Tributyrin is found to be a potent inducer of ICAM-1, LFA-3 and Fas on target cells corresponding to an increase of the FasL expression by IL-2/IL-12 on the effector cells. Our data suggest a synergistic link between induction of tumor cell differentiation and immunological defense mechanisms that may provide a rational basis for the improvement of clinical protocols, especially for colon cancer.[1]


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