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J Immunol. 1998 Sep 1;161(5):2217-22.

IL-18 augments perforin-dependent cytotoxicity of liver NK-T cells.

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  • 1Immunobiology Section, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


The liver contains abundant cytotoxic cells, including NK-T cells, NK cells, and CTLs. However, the regulation of this cytotoxicity is not fully understood. In this study, we investigated the effect of a recently described cytokine, IL-18, which is present in large quantities in the liver, on the cytotoxicity of intrahepatic lymphocyte subpopulations. This effect of IL-18 was assessed by assaying the in vitro cytotoxicity of purified NK-T, NK, and T cells against a CD95- and perforin-sensitive T cell line, Jurkat. The results show that IL-18 enhances the killing activity of liver NK-T cells by a CD95-independent, perforin-dependent pathway. IL-18 also augments liver NK cell activity, but the exact mechanisms of this killing remain to be elucidated. Finally, the augmentation of the killing activities of liver NK-T and NK cells by IL-18 is not due to soluble TNF-alpha, because none of these cell populations had detectable TNF-alpha production.

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