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B cells from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients are strong inducers of proliferation and major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-unrestricted [natural killer (NK)-like] cytotoxicity in normal T-lymphocytes


We studied the ability of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) B cells to stimulate proliferation and major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-unrestricted [natural killer (NK)-like] cytotoxicity in a mixed lymphocyte tumor-cell culture (MLTC). CLL-derived B cells induced a significantly higher proliferative response than did B cells from healthy normal donors. Comparable levels of interferon and interleukin-2 production were detected in the mixed lymphocyte cultures (MLC) set up with normal B cells from healthy donors and in MLTC. Higher levels of NK-like cytotoxic activity were induced after stimulation with CLL than with normal B cells in nonlytic precursors. Inhibition experiments with specific monoclonal antibodies indicate that the NK-like response in MLTC is attributable to HLA class II antigens, which are expressed at comparable levels on CLL and normal B cells. Percoll gradient centrifugation of the MLC and MLTC recovered cells demonstrated that the NK-like effectors in both types of cultures were blast-transformed, highly mitotic cells.

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Matera, L., Foa, R., Massaia, M. et al. B cells from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients are strong inducers of proliferation and major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-unrestricted [natural killer (NK)-like] cytotoxicity in normal T-lymphocytes. J Clin Immunol 9, 329–337 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00918665

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Key words

  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • natural killer (NK)-like cytotoxic activity
  • mixed lymphocyte culture
  • mixed lymphocyte tumor-cell culture