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Int J Immunopharmacol. 2000 Nov;22(11):967-77.

Effects of macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin-2 administration on NK1.1(+) cells in mice.

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  • 1Biochemical Research Laboratory, Morinaga Milk Industry Co. Ltd., Higashihara 5-1-83, 228-8583, Zama, Kanagawa, Japan.


We studied the effects of M-CSF and IL-2 on NK1.1(+) cell activity in vivo and in vitro. Administration of M-CSF increased the number of splenic NK1.1(+) cells (vs. saline: P<0.01). Moreover, the combination of M-CSF and IL-2 (M-CSF+IL-2) produced a synergistic expansion of the number of NK1.1(+) cells compared with each single treatment (vs. saline: P<0.001). The NK1.1(+) cells were isolated from the spleen of each treated mouse (four treatment groups: saline, IL-2 alone, M-CSF alone, M-CSF+IL-2) and their functions (IL-2-induced proliferation, IFN-gamma production and cytostatic activity) were evaluated in vitro. The NK1.1(+) cells from M-CSF alone and M-CSF+IL-2 treated mice showed greater responsiveness in terms of IL-2-induced proliferation, production of IFN-gamma and cytostatic activity than the cells from saline and IL-2 alone treated mice. The NK activity in vivo was enhanced by the administration of M-CSF and IL-2, as assessed by the 'Lung clearance assay' (clearance of Yac-1 cells in lung). And the M-CSF+IL-2 treatment induced the highest NK activity of the four treatments. To show a practical effect of upregulation of NK activity in vivo by M-CSF and IL-2 administration, the effect of the four treatments on an experimental tumor metastasis model was examined. The IL-2 alone, M-CSF alone and M-CSF+IL-2 treatment reduced the metastasis of B16 melanoma. And the M-CSF+IL-2 treatment proved of greater benefit to the antimetastatic activity than each single treatment. Our results demonstrated that the administration of M-CSF increases the number of NK1.1(+) cells, which have good responsiveness to IL-2. Furthermore, the combination treatment of M-CSF and IL-2 in vivo augments the increase of NK1.1(+) cells. And these effects can contribute to the antimetastatic activity in vivo.

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