Natural killer cell activity during measles

D. E. Griffin, B. J. Ward, E. Jauregui, R. T. Johnson, A. Vaisberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Natural killer cells are postulated to play an important role in host anti-viral defences. We measured natural killer cell activity in 30 individuals with acute measles (73 ± 21 lytic units (LU)/107 cells) and 16 individuals with other infectious diseases (149 ± 95 LU) and found it reduced compared with values for adults (375 ± 70 LU; P < 0.001) or children (300 ± 73 LU, P < 0.01) without infection. Reduced natural killer cell activity was found in measles patients with (84 ± 30 LU) and without (55 ± 18 LU) complications and was present for at least 3 weeks after the onset of the rash. Activity was increased by in vitro exposure of cells to interleukin-2. Depressed natural killer cell activity parallels in time the suppression of other parameters of cell-mediated immunity that occurs during measles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-224
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990


  • interferon
  • interleukin-2
  • measles
  • natural killer cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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