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

Effect of irradiation on hepatic natural killer cells.

The rat liver contains a population of natural killer cells consisting of two morphologically and functionally different subsets, a low-density and a high-density fraction. In this work we describe the influence of low-dose radiation on hepatic natural killer activity. The effect on the cytotoxicity against YAC-1 lymphoma and CC531 colon adenocarcinoma tumor cells was measured in chromium-51 assays, and morphological changes were analyzed by means of electron microscopy. The low-density natural killer fraction showed increased cytotoxicity against YAC-1 which was associated with an increased binding of natural killer cells to the YAC-1 tumor cells shortly after irradiation. These phenomena were paralleled by an increased number of multivesicular bodies and cytoplasmic granules with an electron-lucent halo. In contrast, the other hepatic natural killer cell fraction, the high-density natural killer cells, did not show increased cytotoxicity, binding or morphological alterations. The radiation-stimulated lysis of YAC-1 cells was also observed when in vivo irradiated cells were isolated and tested immediately for in vitro lysis of YAC-1 cells. Sixteen hours after in vitro or in vivo irradiation, the cytotoxicity of hepatic natural killer cells against YAC-1 was no longer enhanced. The cytolysis of and binding of hepatic natural killer cells to CC531 colon adenocarcinoma cells was not stimulated by in vitro irradiation. From these experiments, we conclude that low-dose radiation stimulates the cytotoxicity of hepatic low-density natural killer cells against YAC-1 lymphoma cells immediately after irradiation as the result of enhanced binding of the cells to the tumor cells, in addition to the synthesis of new cytotoxic granules.[1]


  1. Effect of irradiation on hepatic natural killer cells. Vanderkerken, K., Bouwens, L., Kuppen, P., De Neve, W., Van den Berg, K., Baekeland, M., Wisse, E. Hepatology (1994) [Pubmed]
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