Cytotoxicity by NK-like cells from hepatitis B-immune patients to a human hepatoma cell line secreting HBsAg

Academic Article


  • Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 20 of 27 convalescent hepatitis B patients exhibited cytotoxic activity against a hepatitis B surface antigen- (HBsAg) secreting human hepatoma cell line, PLC/PRF/5 (Alexander), but not from a non-HBsAg-secreting human hepatoma cell line, (Mahlavu). Fresh PBMC from four of the 27 patients were cytotoxic for both targets, but after overnight incubation of such cells at 37°C, cytotoxicity was observed only against the HBsAg-secreting target cells. In contrast, PBMC from 12 patients who were convalescent from other viral hepatitis infections and from 24 normal donors failed to lyse either target cell line. Cells from five normal subjects did exhibit cytotoxicity toward both cell lines; however, after overnight incubation at 37°C, these PBMC did not retain cytotoxic activity for either target cell line. Specificity of the cytotoxic cell-target cell interaction of PBMC from convalescent patients was further demonstrated by adsorption of cytotoxic cells to monolayers of PLC/PRF/5 cells, but not to Mahlavu cells. The cytotoxic reaction was not apparently HLA-restricted. Moreover, the effector cells did not rosette with SRBC, nor did they adhere to plastic or to anti-Ig-coated plates. They did display Fc receptors. Correspondingly, cytotoxicity was not inhibited by aggregated human IgG, nor were antibody-sensitized target cells lysed by PBMC from normal donors. Finally, loss of cytotoxic activity from convalescent cells preincubated for 48 hr at 37° C was restored by addition of leukocyte interferon. The phenotype of the cytotoxic effectors demonstrated in this study thus most closely resembles that of natural killer (NK) cells. The data support the concept that such cells are activated by hepatitis virus infection and suggest the possibility that such cells may display features of immunologic specificity. These studies provide initial evidence of a role of interferon-activated non-T, non-B NK-like lymphoid cells in the host-defense responses to hepatitis B virus infection.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Pubmed Id

  • 6794974
  • Author List

  • Chin TW; Hollinger FB; Rich RR; Troisi CL; Dreesman GR; Melnick JL
  • Start Page

  • 173
  • End Page

  • 180
  • Volume

  • 130
  • Issue

  • 1