Inhibition of Natural Killer Cell-Mediated Lysis of Tumor Cells by Normal and Regenerating Bone Marrow

Sandra C. Miller, Daniel Galley, Dao M. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The natural killer (NK) cells which can lyse certain tumor cells during brief incubation in vitro have also been postulated to be the cells responsible for natural resistance to transplanted hemopoietic cells in vivo. To test this hypothesis, we have now measured: 1) the ability of bone marrow cells to compete with tumor cells as targets for spleen NK cells and 2) the effect of a brief incubation with spleen cells on the hemopoietic grafting potential of bone marrow cells. Firstly, when CBA/J mouse spleen cells were incubated with 51Cr-labelled YAC tumor cells together with DBA/2 mouse bone marrow cells, tumor cell lysis was reduced compared with incubation of spleen cells with tumor cells alone. Tumor cell lysis was even less when post-irradiation regenerating bone marrow was used. Secondly, C57B1/6 mouse bone marrow cells incubated with an excess of DBA/2 mouse spleen cells showed a reduced ability to produce hemopoietic spleen colonies in irradiated 129/J mice, whereas incubation with either thymus cells or fewer spleen cells produced no such effect. The results show that, when incubated with spleen cells under the conditions of a standard NK cell assay, regenerating bone marrow cells competitively inhibit the killing of YAC tumor cells and bone marrow progenitor cells are rendered ineffective in their hemopoietic colony-forming potential (CFU-s). These findings suggest that certain hemopoietic progenitor cells and YAC tumor cells can both serve as targets for NK cells, consistent with the view that the spontaneous cytolysis of tumor cells in vitro and natural resistance to bone marrow transplantation in vivo are mediated by cells of a common lineage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-90
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Abbreviations: cpm = counts per minute
  • Cs = cesium
  • FCS = fetal calf serum
  • NK = natural killer
  • Na25'CrO, = -"Cr- = radioactive sodium chromate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology


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