Unstimulated human peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy donors exhibited spontaneous cytotoxicity against noncultured solid tumor targets in a 12- to 24-hr 51Cr release or 111In release assay. Both purified monocytes (> 99% monocytes) and natural killer (NK)-enriched lymphocytes exhibited comparable levels of spontaneous cytotoxicity against fresh melanoma tumor targets. This cytotoxicity was observed under endotoxin-free conditions. NK-depleted lymphocytes did not lyse the melanoma targets. Culture supernatants of monocytes incubated with the melanoma tumor cells did not exhibit cytotoxic activity against these targets. Purified monocytes lacked NK activity against the K562 targets in a 4-hr 51Cr release assay. Treatment of the monocytes with anti-Leu 11b and anti-Leu7 monoclonal antibodies plus complement did not reduce monocyte-mediated lysis of the melanoma targets, demonstrating that contaminating NK cells, if any, were not responsible for the lysis of noncultured melanoma targets by monocytes. In contrast, Leu 11b+ NK cells were responsible for the lysis of the melanoma targets by NK-enriched lymphocytes. The addition of recombinant interferon-γ (rIFN-γ), but not lipopolysaccharide, into the 51Cr release assay or pretreatment of monocytes with rIFN-γ significantly increased their cytotoxicity against noncultured solid tumor cells. Monocytes cultured for 3 days with medium alone lost their cytotoxic activity. The addition of rIFN-γ from the beginning of these cultures prevented the loss of the cytotoxic activity of monocytes. In summary, both unstimulated monocytes and NK-enriched lymphocytes exhibit comparable levels of spontaneous cytotoxicity against fresh solid tumor targets.
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