Pretreatment of human K562 leukemia cells with rIFN-alpha and rIFN-gamma resulted in decreased susceptibility to lysis by human peripheral blood NK cells. The reduction of NK-susceptibility after IFN treatment was not due to a general effect of IFN on the stability of the cell membrane because the susceptibility of K562 cells to lysis by antibodies plus C, distilled water, or lysolecithin was unaffected. Binding studies with effector cell preparations enriched for NK cells with large granular lymphocyte morphology revealed no difference in binding to control and IFN-gamma-treated target cells. The sensitivity to soluble NK cytotoxic factors was not affected significantly by the IFN treatment. In contrast, the susceptibility of IFN-treated target cells to the cytotoxic activity of purified cytoplasmic granules from a rat large granular lymphocyte tumor was significantly reduced, indicating that the IFN-induced resistance acted at the level of susceptibility to the lytic mechanism of NK cells. However, IFN-alpha was more effective than IFN-gamma in inducing resistance to the cytoplasmic granules although resulting in only a weak resistance in the cell-mediated cytotoxic assay. IFN-gamma but not IFN-alpha caused a reduction in the frequency of effector cells that had reoriented their Golgi apparatus toward their bound target cell. In addition, IFN-gamma treated K562 cells failed to elicit an influx of Ca2+ into effector cells. Taken together, the results suggest that IFN-gamma in addition to an increased resistance to the lytic molecules released by NK cells can also induce changes in the target cells which prevent the triggering and activation of the effector cell.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.