Mechanism of NK cell activation: Relationship between Qa5+ NK cells and lymphocytes

M. Chun, G. Fernandes, M. K. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Interferon (IF) induces within 20 hr of incubation of Qa5+Thy-1- NK cells but not Qa5-Thy-1+ cytotoxic cells in cultures of murine splenocytes. The mechanism of Qa5+ NK cell activation has been studied by using tumor necrosis serum (TNS), concanavalin A (Con A), and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) as additional NK cell-inducing reagents. It was found that IF and TNS activate precursor NK cells directly without the involvement of accessory cells. The T cell mitogen Con A and the B cell mitogen LPS, on the other hand, induced Qa5+ NK cells only in the presence of lymphocytes. Con A-stimulated T cells and LPS-stimulated B cells release factors into the culture medium that activate Qa5+ NK cells. Since Con A and LPS are known to be interferon inducers, it is inferred that Con A-induced and LPS-induced activation of NK cells is mediated by IF. The data demonstrate that NK cells become activated as a consequence of lymphocyte activation and thus suggest a relationship between lymphocyte dependent- and NK cell-dependent defense systems. This relationship is also implied by observations made with NZB mice. NZB mice lose NK cell activity at the time when they develop autoimmune diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-334
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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