Immune Cytolysis Viewed as a Stimulatory Process of the Target

  • Reuven Tirosh
  • Gideon Berke
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 187)


Humoral and cellular mechanisms of immune cytolysis, as effected by antibody and complement (Ab+C’) or by cytolytic T lymphocytes (CTL), have traditionally been considered the end result of early but terminal membrane damage, in turn causing colloid-osmotic lysis of the target cell. A comprehensive theory explaining and relating known prelytic cellular events to subsequent membrane damage is lacking, nor is there a specific picture as to the role and mode of action of Ca 2+, which appears to be involved in both complement- and cell-mediated cytolysis (C’MCand CMC, respectively). Recent studies are in support of the view that both Ab+C’ and CTL induce a comparable series of prelytic events, in the TC, initiated by membranedepolarization, which in turn bring about voltage-dependent Ca 2+ influx or its intracellular release. Persistent elevation of cytosolic Ca 2+ can induce massive stimulation of cellular ATPases (actomyosin, Ca) and cause exhaustive depletion of ATP. Consequently, Na+-pumping is slowed down and colloid-osmotic lysis ensues. Hence, in our view, membrane damage in immune cytolysis is the result rather than the cause of intracellular events culminating in lysis.


Target Cell Membrane Damage Membrane Depolarization Cytoplasmic Streaming Target Cell Membrane 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reuven Tirosh
    • 1
  • Gideon Berke
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cell BiologyThe Weizmann Institute of ScienceRehovotIsrael

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