Large granular lymphocyte (LGL)-enriched peripheral blood mononuclear cells were prepared on discontinuous gradients of Percoll. Migration into nitrocellulose filters was studied in a 2-hr assay with the use of modified Boyden chambers. LGL migrated into filters in response to casein or C5a. Migration depended on the presence of a concentration gradient of chemoattractant between the lower and upper compartment of the chambers. Percoll-purified high density small lymphocytes had little or no migratory capacity under these conditions, requiring a longer incubation time (4 hr) for consistent migration. Migratory capacity in response to stimuli correlated with the frequency of LGL in the various fractions of Percoll gradients. Fractionation of LGL-enriched Percoll preparations with monoclonal antibodies and immunoadsorbent columns or a cell sorter revealed that cells with migratory capacity in response to stimuli were B73.1+ and OKT3-, thus confirming that migrating cells were LGL. LGL preincubated with interferon (IFN) showed enhanced spontaneous motility but no increased responsiveness to chemoattractants. IFN did not modify the migratory capacity of small lymphocytes. The prompt migration of LGL in response to stimuli is consistent with the hypothesis that these cells may serve as one of the first easily mobilizable lines of resistance against infectious agents and tumors. The migration assay described here may offer a better insight into the functions and regulation of LGL.

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