Addition of interleukin-2 in vitro augments detection of lymphokine-activated killer activity generated in vivo

Jacquelyn A. Hank*, Gilda Weil-Hillman, Jean E. Surfus, Jeffrey A. Sosman, Paul M. Sondel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The in vivo administration of repetitive weekly cycles of interleukin-2 (IL-2) to patients with cancer enhances the ability of freshly obtained peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) to lyse both the natural-killer(NK)-susceptible K562 and the NK-resistant Daudi targets. Lysis of both targets is significantly augmented by inclusion of IL-2 in the medium during the cytotoxicity assay. This boost is much greater for cells obtained following the in vivo IL-2 therapy than for cells obtained prior to the initiation of therapy or for cells from healthy control donors. In addition to direct lytic activity, the PBL obtained following in vivo IL-2 show a rapid increase in lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) activity with more prolonged in vitro IL-2 exposure, indicating that LAK effectors primed in vivo respond with "secondary-like" kinetics to subsequent IL-2 in vitro. Lymphocytes from healthy control individuals, cultured in IL-2 under conditions attempting to simulate the in vivo IL-2 exposure, function similarly to PBL obtained from patients following IL-2, in that low-level LAK activity was significantly boosted by inclusion of IL-2 during the cytotoxic assay and the cells also responded with secondary-like kinetics to subsequent IL-2 in vitro. The augmentation of the LAK effect was also dependent on the dose of IL-2 added during the 4-h51Cr-release cytotoxicity assay, with higher doses of IL-2 having a more pronounced effect. While continuous infusion of IL-2 induces a greater cytotoxic potential per milliliter of blood obtained from patients, the peak serum IL-2 levels attained are greater with bolus IL-2 infusions. These pharmacokinetic results, together with the IL-2 dose dependence of LAK activity generated in vivo shown in this report, suggest that a combination of treatment with bolus IL-2 infusions superimposed on continuous IL-2 infusion may transiently expose IL-2 dependent LAK cells, activated in vivo, to higher concentrations of IL-2, facilitating their in vivo cytotoxic potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Immunology Immunotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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