Proliferation of Large Granular Lymphocytes in the Rat

  • J. T. Vaage
  • S. Fossum
  • B. Rolstad
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 237)


In rats, most of the natural killer cell activity against neoplastic cells is associated with a class of leukocytes with an easily recognizable morphology. In Giemsa-stained cytocentrifuge preparations they appear as mononuclear cells with a kidney-shaped nucleus and with azurophilic granules in their cytoplasm, usually located in the cytocentre (Fig, 1). Cells with this morphology are usually referred to as large granular lymphocytes (LGL). These cells are found in many different organs of the body, but are particularly numerous in blood, spleen, liver and lungs, from where they are easily isolated. Although these cells have received interest for several years as putative effector cells in the surveillance against neoplasia, little is as yet known about their physiological turnover and migration patterns. A bone marrow origin of LGL is well documented (1), and the majority of these cells apparently mature in the absence of a thymus since they are found in increased numbers in athymic nude rats (2). However, we do not yet know if LGL can proliferate under physiological conditions in vivo, and if they can, to what extent their proliferation rate can be modulated, e.g. by cytokines. The intentions of the present study were:
  1. a)

    to compare the rate of proliferation of LGL in blood, spleen and liver of normal, unstimulated rats with that of cell populations with a known long life span (small recirculating lymphocytes) or short life span (an LGL leukemic cell line), and

  2. b)

    to look at the effect of the interferon inducer Poly I:C on the rate of proliferation of LGL.



Natural Killer Cell Labelling Index Natural Killer Cell Activity Natural Killer Activity Large Granular Lymphocyte 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. T. Vaage
    • 1
  • S. Fossum
    • 1
  • B. Rolstad
    • 1
  1. 1.Anatomical InstituteUniversity of OsloOslo 1Norway

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