Inhibition of lymphokine-activated killer cell-mediated cytotoxicity by phorbol ester

T. Nishimura, S. J. Burakoff, S. H. Herrmann

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31 Scopus citations


As previously reported, the culture of mouse spleen cells in the presence of high amounts of human rIL-2 for 4 days caused proliferation and generation of lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells, which could lyse a variety of tumor cells. However, an addition of PMA to the culture resulted in a striking inhibition of the generation of LAK cells. In contrast, IL-2-induced cell proliferation, IL-2R expression, and LFA-1 expression were enhanced by the addition of PMA. Kinetic studies revealed that the addition of PMA during the final 24 h, but not 4 h, of the culture was sufficient to inhibit the generation of LAK cells. The same inhibition of LAK activity was observed when 4-day cultured LAK cells were pretreated with PMA for over 12 h before cytotoxicity assay. Flow cytometry analysis showed that PMA pretreatment had no effect on the binding of LAK cells to target cells. PMA pretreatment of LAK cells caused total disappearance of protein kinase C (PKC) activity from LAK cells concomitant with the loss of LAK activity. However, PMA-pretreated LAK cells cultured for another 24 h in the absence of PMA revealed levels of PKC activity and cytotoxicity identical with untreated LAK cells. These results strongly suggest that PMA-induced down-regulation of LAK cell-mediated cytotoxicity is due to the inactivation of PKC-dependent transduction systems that are essential post LAK cell-target cell binding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2155-2161
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


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