Scanning Microscopy


In this study we describe the surface features of non-MHC (Major Histocompatibility Complex)-restricted cytotoxic cells isolated from human peripheral blood. Purified populations of CD3-, natural killer (NK) cells were allowed to interact with NK-sensitive (K562) and NK-resistant (THP-1-0) tumor cell targets. The type of effector to target cell binding was investigated by scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis. A different interaction with the effectors is described for NK-resistant targets in comparison with NK-susceptible tumor cells. SEM was also used to investigate the relationship between interleukin 2 (IL2)-activated cytotoxic cells (lymphokine-activated killer, LAK, cells) and the tumor targets. We also describe the unique growth features of certain clones of cytotoxic T cells expressing γδ antigen receptors which support the contention that these cells may have a special ability of homing into tissues. We conclude that non-specific cytotoxic cells constitute a diverse population of effectors which differ not only for the expression of surface antigens, but also for their ability to interact with tumor cell targets and to home into the peripheral tissues where they may exert their lytic functions.

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