Letter | Published:

Augmentation by interferon of human natural and antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity


LYMPHOCYTES from normal individuals may have considerable levels of cytotoxic reactivity against tumour cells, mediated by NK (natural killer) cells1. There are many similarities between NK cells and the effector cells (K cells) mediating antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) against tumour target cells2,3, and they may in fact be identical cells. In vivo inoculation of rodents with viruses4,5, immunostimulants4,6–8, tumour cells4 and other interferon inducers8 results in augmented NK activity. Interferon (IF) was shown to have a major role in rapidly boosting mouse NK activity, both in vivo9,10 and in vitro9. Trinchieri and Santoli11 have suggested that IF could also augment human NK activity. However, the preparations used might have contained a variety of other lymphokines. The present study shows that IF can indeed augment human NK activity and also ADCC.

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