The mechanisms by which human lymphocytes lyse virus-infected allogeneic fibroblast cultures were analyzed with particular consideration of the role of antiviral antibodies and interferon. Human cells infected with viruses were able to induce high levels of interferon upon contact with human lymphocytes. Interferon, whether produced by lymphocytes after direct infection with virus or induced upon exposure of lymphocytes to virus-infected fibroblasts, appeared to be responsible for enhancing the cytotoxic efficiency of the natural killer cell against the infected target. Activation of cytotoxic lymphocytes occurred as early as 6 hr after addition of interferon and increased up to 24 hr. Antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (Ab-CMC) could be easily induced by sensitization of infected target cells with antiviral antibodies and could be detected at 4 hr from the beginning of the cytotoxic test, before the effect of interferon on the natural killer cell was evident. However, the antibody-dependent effector cell was inactive after 4 hr of incubation. F(ab′)2 fragments of rabbit antihuman IgG completely inhibited Ab-CMC but did not at all affect the spontaneous cytotoxic activity of the effector cells against virus-infected target.

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