CD4+ T cell and natural killer cell-dependent killing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis by human monocytes

Takahiro Yoneda, Jerrold J. Ellner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We established an in vitro model of the phagocytosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis by human peripheral blood monocytes to evaluate the subsequent inhibition of intracellular replication of the organism. Highly purified T cells (94% CD3+/CD16-) or natural killer (NK) cells (96% CD16+/CD3-) isolated by Percoll discontinuous density gradient of peripheral blood mononuclear cells were incubated with M. tuberculosis-infected monocyte monolayers. Monocytes were lysed immediately and at 4, 7, and 10 d after infection for quantification of intracellular replication, which was assessed by quantitative plating techniques as colony-forming units (CFU). Whereas control monocytes permitted intracellular replication, T cells activated monocytes to kill 77% (p <0.01) of intracellular M. tuberculosis compared with control monocytes by 10 d after infection. NK cells activated monocytes to kill 84% (p <0.01) of M. tuberculosis in comparison with control monocytes. Lymphokine (IL-2)-activated-killer (LAK) cells were capable of activating monocytes to kill 97% (p <0.01) of the intracellular organisms compared with control monocytes. In purified protein derivative (PPD)- positive donors, PPD-specific-CD4+ lymphocytes stimulated monocytes to kill intracellular M. tuberculosis in a Class II major histocompatibility complex- restricted manner. In contrast, in PPD-negative donors, CD4- lymphocytes activated monocytes in a genetically unrestricted manner. Both T cell supernatant and NK cell supernatant generated from cocultivation with M. tuberculosis, infected monocytes also activated monocytes to augment mycobactericidal function. In conclusion, T cells, NK cells, LAK cells, and their supernatants activated mycobactericidal function of monocytes, although these pathways of activation differed in terms of antigenic specificity and genetic restriction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-403
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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