We examined the effect of carrageenan on in vitro antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytolysis (ADCC) and spontaneous cell-mediated cytolysis (SCMC) in cultures of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBL). Carrageenan, when present in the assay, nonspecifically reduced ADCC and SCMC against both Chang and chicken erythrocyte (CRBC) target cells. This reduction in cytotoxicity could not be attributed entirely to the macrophage toxic and complement-inhibitory properties of carrageenan because neither removal of complement nor macrophage depletion prevented the dose-dependent inhibition. In contrast, pretreatment of effector PBL, with carrageenan followed by removal of Carrageenan by washing did not alter ADCC or SCMC against Chang cells, which are mediated by nonphagocytic cells, but reduced both ADCC and SCMC activity against CRBC targets, which are mediated in part by macrophages. Thus, Carrageenan, when present in in vitro cell-mediated cytotoxicity assays, causes a nonspecific impairment of cytotoxicity that is independent of its anticomplement or macrophage-toxic properties.
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