Donor-type activated natural killer cells promote marrowengraftment and B cell development during allogeneic bone marrow transplantation

William J Murphy, Michael Bennett, Vinay Kumar, Dan L. Longo

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56 Scopus citations


Purified NK cells were obtained from mice with severe combined immune deficiency and were activated with human IL-2 (hrIL-2) in vitro to determine if, once activated, these cells could be transferred with compatible bone marrow cells (BMC) and promote marrow engraftment in irradiated allogeneic recipients. After culture with hrIL-2, these cells maintained a phenotypic and lytic spectrum consistent with a pure population of activated NK cells. These activated NK cells were then adoptively transferred with the donor BMC and rhIL-2 into lethally irradiated allogeneic hosts. The addition of NK cells with the BMC allowed for more rapid hematopoietic engraftment as determined through short term studies, and greater donor-derived chimerism with accelerated reconstitution of the B cell population as determined with long term analysis. No evidence of graft-vs-host disease was detected in the recipients receiving the activated NK cells with allogeneic T cell replete BMC and hrIL-2. The mechanism by which the transferred NK cells improved BMC engraftment was at least partly through the abrogation of the host effector cell's ability to mediate resistance to the marrow graft. Thus, the administration of donor-type activated NK cells with BMC and hrIL-2 may significantly augment hematopoietic engraftment and immune reconstitution in the clinical setting of allogeneic BMT without giving rise to graft-vs-host disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2953-2960
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 1992
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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