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Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 231–237 | Cite as

Bacterial superantigens as anti-tumour agents: induction of tumour cytotoxicity in human lymphocytes by staphylococcal enterotoxin A

  • Peter A. Lando
  • Gunnar Hedlund
  • Mikael Dohlsten
  • Terje Kalland
Original articles

Summary

Activation of lymphocytes by interleukin-2 (IL-2) induces lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells that show promising effects on tumour growth in clinical trials. We examined the effect of the superantigen staphylococcal enterotoxin A (SEA) on anti-tumour activity of freshly prepared human lymphocytes. Picomolar amounts of SEA rapidly induced cytotoxic activity against K562 and Raji cells as well as some natural-killer(NK)-resistant tumour cell lines. Cytotoxic activity was not dependent on target cell expression of either major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I or II antigens as shown using mutated cell lines. Cell-sorting experiments showed that the activity was expressed by NK (CD5CD56+) as well as T (CD5+) cells, although the former contained the majority of cytotoxic activity. NK cells could not be directly activated by SEA. In contrast, SEA activated purified T cells to the same extent as in bulk cultures. It is suggested that SEA activation of NK cells is secondary to that brought about by lymphokines produced by T cells. Activation of LAK cells with SEA was comparable in magnitude as well as target cell spectrum to that of IL-2. In addition to the LAK-like cytotoxic activity induced by SEA, a superimposed cytotoxicity towards target cells expressing MHC class II antigens coated with SEA was observed. This staphylococcal-enterotoxin-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (SDCC) was exclusively mediated by T cells. It is well established that MHC class II antigens function as receptors for staphylococcal enterotoxins on mammalian cells and that the complex between MHC class II antigen and — SEA apparently functions as a target structure for activated T cells with target cell lysis as a consequence. Activation of T lymphocytes with IL-2 also resulted in the capability to mediate SDCC. Staphylococcal enterotoxins represent a novel way of inducing anti-tumour activity in human lymphocytes, which could be of value in therapeutic applications.

Key words

Bacterial superantigens Antitumor agents Enterotoxin A Lymphocytes 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter A. Lando
    • 1
  • Gunnar Hedlund
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mikael Dohlsten
    • 1
    • 2
  • Terje Kalland
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Kabi Pharmacia Therapeutics ABLundSweden
  2. 2.The Department of Tumour Immunology, The Wallenberg LaboratoryUniversity of LundLundSweden

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