Bone marrow cells cultured for 5-6 days generate cytotoxic activity against a number of natural killer (NK)-susceptible tumor cells. In this study, these bone marrow cytotoxic cells were compared to cells with NK activity obtained either from spleen cells activated in vitro with interferon (IFN-α/β) or mitogen or from peritoneal exudate cells (PEC) obtained 4 days after bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) infection. Splenic and PEC cytotoxic cells were shown to be Thy 1.2+, NK 1.1+, Asialo GM+ 1, Lyt 1.2-, Lyt 2.2-. In contrast, bone marrow cytotoxic cells were Thy 1.2+, NK 1.1-, Lyt 1.2-, Lyt 2.2- and expressed low levels of Asialo GM1 antigen (Asialo GM± 1). Precursor cells for bone marrow cytotoxic activity were shown to be Thy 1.2-, NK 1.1-, Lyt 1.2-, Lyt 2.2- but also expressed low levels of Asialo GM1 antigen (Asialo GM± 1). Cytotoxic activity for both bone marrow and spleen cells peaked in the lowdensity fractions of discontinuous Percoll density gradients. The cytotoxic activity of these bone marrow cells was augmented by pretreatment with IFN (-α/β, -γ) or soluble factors (IFN free) from activated EL-4 thymoma cells. Surprisingly, the ability of bone marrow cells to generate high levels of cytotoxic activity following in vitro culture appeared to be associated primarily with mice which were of the H-2b haplotype.
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