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J Virol. 1987 Jul;61(7):2155-61.

Immunological surveillance against DNA-virus-transformed cells: correlations between natural killer cell cytolytic competence and tumor susceptibility of athymic rodents.


Adenovirus type 2 (Ad2)-transformed hamster and rat cells are susceptible to lysis by natural killer (NK) cells from the host of origin and are nontumorigenic in immunocompetent hamsters and rats, respectively. These NK-cell-susceptible, virus-transformed cells are, however, highly tumorigenic in athymic (nude) mice--animals with intact NK-cell responses. In vitro lysis of these xenogeneic, Ad2-transformed cells by nude-mouse NK cells was found to be defective. In contrast, Ad2-transformed hamster and rat cells were highly susceptible to lysis by nude-rat NK cells. Furthermore, xenogeneic, Ad2-transformed hamster cells were nontumorigenic in nude rats unless the NK-cell responses of the challenged animals were compromised. The results of the nude-rat studies show that thymus-dependent, cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-mediated, host cellular immune responses are not essential for rejection of xenogeneic cells transformed by nononcogenic Ad2. The data suggest instead that immunologically nonspecific host cellular immune responses, such as those mediated by NK cells, are sufficient for rejection of Ad2-transformed cells. These results indicate that biologically important differences exist in the NK-cell-mediated defenses mounted by nude mice and nude rats against transformed cells that may account for the different patterns of tumor induction by various neoplastic cell types in these athymic animals.

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