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Vet Pathol. 1992 Jan;29(1):53-9.

A comparative study of natural killer cell activity, lymphoproliferation, and cell phenotypes in nonhuman primates.

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Department of Virology and Immunology, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, TX.


Three different species of nonhuman primates (baboons [Papio hamadryas], rhesus monkeys [Macaca mulatta], and African green monkeys [Cercopithecus aethiops]) were evaluated for their natural killer cell activity, and for the ability of their peripheral blood mononuclear cells to proliferate in response to known mitogens (concanavalin A, phytohemagglutinin, and pokeweed mitogen) and to react with a panel of mouse monoclonal antibodies directed against human leukocyte surface antigens. Rhesus monkeys displayed the highest natural killer cell cytotoxic activity (185.7 +/- 33 lytic units) compared with those of baboons (83.8 +/- 19 lytic units) and of African green monkeys from West Africa (39.08 +/- 8 lytic units) and from the Caribbean basin (37.9 +/- 9 lytic units). No correlation was observed between the natural killer cell cytotoxic activity and the percentage of CD16+ natural killer cells among the three species studied. High spontaneous proliferative capacity was observed in African green monkeys obtained from West Africa compared with those of the other species studied. Although no significant differences were noted in T and B cell mitogen-induced in vitro proliferation, baboon mononuclear cells were less responsive to concanavalin A (stimulation index of 16 +/- 3 [mean +/- standard error of mean]) than to phytohemagglutinin (stimulation index of 47 +/- 12). However, rhesus and African green monkey cells proliferated more efficiently in response to concanavalin A. Unlike in human beings where the ratio between helper-inducer (CD4+) and cytotoxic-suppressor (CD8+) T-lymphocytes is generally greater than 1, the CD4+/CD8+ ratios in baboons and rhesus and African green monkeys were 0.58, 0.69, and 0.35, respectively.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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