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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Oct 1978; 75(10): 5127–5131.
PMCID: PMC336277

Natural killing and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity are independent immune functions in the Minnesota miniature swine.


Peripheral blood lymphocytes from Minnesota miniature pigs were tested for natural killing (NK) and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) in a 2- to 4-hr 51Cr release assay against human myeloid and lymphoid tumor target cells. Adult specific pathogen-free and germfree animals exhibited normal levels of activity in both assays. In addition, the NK and ADCC activities of peripheral blood lymphocytes from colostrum-deprived newborn piglets were examined. These animals were obtained by hysterectomy and previously shown to be immunologically "virgin." We found that these newborn piglets exhibited normal ADCC but lacked NK activity. The differences in the ontogeny of the two activities suggest that they are distinct. Preliminary effector cell characterization studies suggest that: (i) NK and ADCC in the pig are physically not separable; (ii) the majority of the cytotoxic activity on a cell-per-cell basis is mediated by the non-T lymphocyte fraction; and (iii) the rosetted T cells, which account for about 60% of the total pig peripheral blood lymphocytes, have low but demonstrable cytotoxic activity as well.

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