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Increase of natural killer activity of mouse lymphocytes following in vitro and in vivo treatment with lithium.

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Institute of Experimental Medicine, Oncology Section, CNR, Rome, Italy.


The in vivo and in vitro influence of lithium lactate on mouse natural killer activity was investigated. In vitro exposure of effector-target mixture to graded concentrations of lithium did not substantially modify the natural killer activity of mouse splenocytes, untreated or pretreated with cyclophosphamide. However in vitro treatment of effector splenocytes increased the frequency of NK-percursor cells. The in vivo treatment with lithium lactate greatly increased the natural killer activity in intact mice, whereas it did not improve this cytotoxic function in host immunodepressed by cyclophosphamide. These data suggest that lithium salts produce a modulation of natural killer activity of mouse spleen cells, probably through a mechanism involving the increase of the number of NK-precursors in hosts not subjected to cytotoxic chemotherapy.

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