Generation of mouse natural killer (NK) cell activity: Effect of interleukin‐2 (IL‐2) and interferon (IFN) on the in vivo development of natural killer cells from bone marrow (BM) progenitor cells

Carlo Riccardi, Antonio Giampietri, Graziella Migliorati, Lorenza Cannarile, Luciano D'Adamio, Ronald B. Herberman

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23 Scopus citations


The possible effect of IL‐2, α, β‐IFN and poly I:C (an IFN inducer) administration on the generation of NK cells of LI and BM‐reconstituted animals was investigated. B6D2F, mice were LI (9.5 Gy) by total‐body irradiation and reconstituted by i.v. injection of different doses (ranging from 106 to 2 × 107) of syngeneic BM, after which the levels of splenic NK activity were evaluated on days 4, 7, 9, 12 and 14 after LI and BM graft. After a marked decline on day 4 (no detectable NK activity at any effector to target ratio tested), NK activity gradually returned, reaching the levels of untreated controls on day 9. Groups of LI and BM‐reconstituted mice were also treated i.p. with mouse or human recombinant IL‐2 from day 0 through day 3 (15–50 U/day/mouse) after BM transplantation. It appears that an earlier reconstitution of NK activity occurs in IL‐2‐treated animals as compared to medium‐injected controls. LI and BM‐reconstituted animals were also treated i.p. with α, β‐IFN (104 U/mouse) or Poly I:C (1 mg/kg/mouse) from day 0 through day 3, and the splenic NK activity was evaluated at 4, 7, 9, 12 and 14 days after LI and BM graft. Our data indicate that in vivo administration of IFN or Poly I:C was able to cause an earlier maturation of NK activity as measured on days 7 and 9 after LI. In contrast, when the NK activity of IFN‐treated animals was compared with that of controls 14 days after LI and BM graft, a significant inhibition was found due to the induction of suppressor cells. Pre‐treatment of donor BM with Poly I:C or IFN was also able to induce a more rapid reconstitution of NK activity of recipient mice. The NK activity reconstitution paralleled the increase in the number of splenic LGL. A synergistic effect was obtained when LI mice were transplanted with Poly I:C‐pre‐treated BM and then treated with IL‐2. The effector cell in the IFN and IL‐2 treated chimeras is a typical NK cell: asialo GM‐1+, Thy 1±, Lyt 1, Lyt 2and reactive only against NK‐susceptible targets. These data suggest that IL‐2 as well as IFN may represent maturational signals in the in vivo physiological regulation of growth and differentiation of BM NK stem‐cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-562
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 1986


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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