Precursors of murine natural killer (NK) cells and lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells can be distinguished by utilizing an adoptive transfer system in which donor bone marrow is fractionated on Percoll discontinuous gradients. Although precursors of LAK cells are present in all fractions, one fraction (greater than 65% Percoll) contains LAK precursors and is depleted of NK precursors. Both in vitro NK activity and in vivo hybrid resistance is abrogated in recipients of bone marrow from the greater than 65% Percoll fraction, whereas LAK activity can be readily demonstrated.

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