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J Immunol. 1985 Feb;134(2):794-801.

Recombinant interleukin 2 enhanced natural killer cell-mediated cytotoxicity in human lymphocyte subpopulations expressing the Leu 7 and Leu 11 antigens.


Highly purified recombinant human interleukin 2 (rIL 2) markedly augments the natural killer (NK) cell-mediated cytotoxicity of peripheral blood lymphocytes. In this study, we examined the cellular and metabolic basis of rIL 2-mediated activation of human lymphocyte subpopulations expressing the NK cell-associated surface antigens Leu 7 and Leu 11. All rIL 2-responsive cytotoxic NK cells were found within the subset of lymphocytes expressing the Leu 11 marker, an antigen associated with the Fc-IgG receptor on human NK cells. Cells lacking the Leu 11 antigen, including cells expressing another NK cell-associated marker, Leu 7, did not express NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity either before or after rIL 2 treatment. By contrast, rIL 2 augmented the NK activity of both Leu7-,11+ and Leu 7+,11+ subpopulations. Activation of Leu 11+ NK cells resulted from a direct effect of rIL 2 on these cells and neither required nor was amplified by the presence of T lymphocytes. Enhanced NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity occurred within 4 hr after exposure to rIL 2, and was blocked by the protein synthesis inhibitor cyclohexamide, but not by the DNA synthesis inhibitor mitomycin C or 1500 rad of x-irradiation. Neither Tac antigen, a high-affinity receptor for IL 2, nor other activation markers, such as transferrin receptor or HLA-DR antigen, were detectable on a significant proportion of Leu 11+ cells, either before or after incubation with rIL 2 for 48 hr. In addition, saturating concentrations of antibodies to each of these markers had no effect on the enhancement of NK activity by rIL 2. Finally, preliminary experiments with neutralizing antibodies to gamma- and alpha-interferons also failed to prevent rIL 2 enhancement of NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity, suggesting that rIL 2 does not mediate its effect via release of these cytokines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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