Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The influence of interferon alpha and gamma, singly or in combination on human natural cell mediated cytotoxicity


The influence of interferon alpha and gamma alone or in combination on the augmentation of human natural cytotoxicity was studied. Treatment of peripheral blood lymphocytes with IFN-α led to a rapid augmentation of NK activity, in contrast to IFN-γ where target cell killing was observed only following 18 hrs exposure of lymphocytes to IFN-γ. The results of the single cell assay paralleled those obtained using the Chromium release test, but neither interferon type caused an increase in the number of target binding lymphocytes. The combined effect of IFN-α and IFN-γ in stimulating human natural cytotoxicity demonstrated individual lymphocyte responses to be variable. Exposure of lymphocytes to IFN-α and IFN-γ for 18 hrs prior to assay for cytotoxicity usually decreased the level of cytotoxicity compared with control values, whereas other treatment regimes gave an additive and sometimes synergistic effect. Only treatment with IFN-α for 18 hrs and IFN-γ for one hr produced a synergistic response in the majority of individuals tested. We conclude from this study that individual responses to IFN-α and IFN-γ alone or in combination are variable and dependent upon timing of exposure of lymphocytes to individual interferon types, and possibly reflects the donor status at the time of sampling.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.

    Armstrong, J. A. (1971)Appl. Microbiol. 21:723.

  2. 2.

    Balkwill, F. R., Moody, E. M., Freedman, V. and Fantes, K. H. (1982)Int. J. Cancer 30:231.

  3. 3.

    Braakman E., van Tunen A., Meager A. and Lucas C. J. (1986)Cell Immunol. 99:476.

  4. 4.

    Branca A. A. and Baglioni C. (1982).J. Biol. Chem. 257:13197.

  5. 5.

    Dolei A., Capobianohi M. and Amegllo F. (1983)Infection and Immunity 4:172.

  6. 6.

    Fleischmann W. R. Jr., Kleyn K. M. and Barson S. (1980)J. N. C. I. 65:963.

  7. 7.

    Fresa K. L. and Murasko D. (1986)Cancer Res. 46:81.

  8. 8.

    Hannigan G., Fish E. N. and Williams B. R. G. (1984)J. Biol. Chem. 259:8084

  9. 9.

    Littman S., Faltyner C. R. and Baglioni C. (1985)J. Biol. Chem. 260:1191.

  10. 10.

    Perussia B., Santoli D., and Trinchieri G. (1980)Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 350:55.

  11. 11.

    Perussia B., Kobayashi M., Rossi M. E., Anegon I. and Trinchieri G. (1987)J. Immunol. 138:765.

  12. 12.

    Rees R. C., Bray J., Robins R. A. and Baldwin R. W. (1975)Int. J. Cancer 15:762.

  13. 13.

    Rees R. C., Dalton B. J., Young J. F., Hanna N. and Poste G. (1987)J. Biol. Resp. Mod. 6:69.

  14. 14.

    Reid L. M., Minato N., Gresser I., Holland J., Kadish A. and Bloom B. R. (1981)Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 78:1171.

  15. 15.

    Schwartz L. A., Fleischmann C. M. and Fleischmann W. R. Jr. (1984)J. Biol. Resp. Mod. 3:608.

  16. 16.

    Senik A., Stefanos S., Kolb J. P., Lucero M. and Falcoff E. (1980)Ann. Immunol. 131:349.

  17. 17.

    Silva A., Bonavida B. and Targan S. (1980)J. Immunol. 125:479.

  18. 18.

    Tsujimoto M. and Vilcek J. (1986)J. Biol. Chem. 261:5384.

  19. 19.

    van der Griend R. J., Ronteltap C. P. M., Gravekamp C., Monnikendam D. and Bolhuis R. L. H. (1986)J. Immunol. 136:1700.

  20. 20.

    Wallach D. (1983)Cell Immunol. 75:390.

  21. 21.

    Weigent D. A., Langford, M. P., Fleischmann W. R. Jr. and Stanton G. J. (1982) In:Human Lymphokines, VI: 539. Academic Press Inc.

  22. 22.

    Weigent D. A., Stanton G. J. and Johnson H. M. (1983)Biochem. Biophys. Res. Communications. 111:525.

  23. 23.

    Wiltrout R., Herberman R., Zhang S., Chirigos M., Ortaldo J., Green Jr. K. and Talmadge J. (1985)J. Immunol. 134:4267.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rawlinson, L., Dalton, B.J., Rogers, K. et al. The influence of interferon alpha and gamma, singly or in combination on human natural cell mediated cytotoxicity. Biosci Rep 9, 549–557 (1989).

Download citation


  • Interferon
  • Peripheral Blood Lymphocyte
  • Interferon Alpha
  • Release Test
  • Cell Mediate Cytotoxicity