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

Phenotypic and functional analysis of lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cell clones. Ability of CD3+, LAK cell clones to produce interferon-gamma and tumor necrosis factor upon stimulation with tumor targets.

Lymphokine- activated killer (LAK) cells are generated by the culture of peripheral blood lymphocytes with interleukin-2 (IL-2). A variety of cells, including T-lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cells, can be activated by IL-2 to exhibit the ability to kill multiple tumor and "modified-self" targets. Recent reports indicate that culture conditions can determine the phenotype of cells expressing LAK activity. Using limiting dilution techniques, we first generated cloned LAK cells with three culture conditions: autologous human serum (AHS) + IL-2; AHS + IL-2 + 0.1 micrograms/ml phytohemagglutinin and fetal bovine serum and IL-2. We determined that all but one of the 47 LAK cell clones generated with the three culture conditions were CD3+ and T-cell like; one NK-like clone was observed. Clones that were cytotoxic for one target could generally kill multiple targets, and the absence of phytohemagglutinin did not significantly affect the ability of the LAK cell clones to kill multiple targets. The presence of phytohemagglutinin was, however, necessary for the long-term maintenance of proliferation and cytotoxic activity of the LAK cell clones. The mechanism by which LAK cells kill tumor targets is not known. We here demonstrate that LAK cells and LAK cell clones can produce interferon-gamma and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) when stimulated with an erythroleukemia cell, K562. Five of the six CD3+, LAK cell clones tested could be stimulated by K562 cells to produce both interferon-gamma and TNF. However, the ability of the cloned LAK cells to kill K562 cells, as measured in a 4-h 51Cr-release assay, did not correlate with their ability to produce these cytokines. Furthermore, specific antibodies that neutralize the cytotoxic activity of interferon-gamma and TNF did not inhibit killing of K562 cells by LAK cells as measured with a 4-h cytotoxic assay. The cytostatic and cytotoxic activities of interferon-gamma and TNF for tumor cells are well documented, but these cytolytic activities are slower acting and exhibit their maximum effect after 48-96 h. We here propose that LAK cells kill tumor targets by a combination of cell-to-cell-mediated killing and by the release of slower acting cytostatic/cytotoxic cytokines that can inhibit the growth of tumors some distance from the effector cells.[1]


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