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Jpn J Cancer Res. 1988 Jul;79(7):866-73.

In vitro augmentation of natural killer cell activity and production of interferon-alpha/beta and -gamma with deoxyribonucleic acid fraction from Mycobacterium bovis BCG.

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Department of Cellular Immunology, National Institute of Health, Tokyo.


A nucleic acid-rich fraction extracted and purified from BCG (MY-1) augmented natural killer (NK) cell activity of mouse spleen cells in vitro, and produced factor(s) which showed anti-viral activity and rendered normal macrophages cytotoxic towards tumor cells. These cellular responses were induced by the MY-1 digested preliminarily with RNase, but not by the MY-1 digested with DNase, indicating that DNA contained in MY-1 was essential for the responses. The function of the factor to activate macrophages was destroyed by treatment with a small amount of anti-interferon (IFN)-gamma antiserum or under acidic conditions (pH 2), but not by treatment with anti-IFN-alpha/beta antiserum, while the anti-viral activity was destroyed almost completely by treatment with anti-IFN-alpha/beta antiserum. It appears that DNA from BCG stimulated mouse spleen cells in vitro, resulting in augmentation of NK activity and production of IFN-alpha/beta and -gamma.

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