Successive coculture of Lewis lung carcinoma (3LL) cells with T cell-derived lymphokines and LPS-activated macrophages has led to the acquisition of 3LL tumor variants (macrophage-resistant 3LL tumor variants (3LL-R)), manifesting a highly reduced sensitivity to the cytotoxic potential of T cell-derived lymphokines and LPS-activated macrophages and TNF-alpha. However, when 3LL-R cells are cocultured with Poly I:C-activated macrophages or with conditioned medium derived from these effector cells a significant lysis is observed. TNF-alpha participates in the cytolytic process of Poly I:C-activated macrophages as anti-TNF-alpha antibodies abolish the cytotoxic effect of these effector cells. In addition, class I IFN is involved because IFN-alpha and IFN-beta act synergistically on TNF-alpha mediated lysis of 3LL-R cells within 18 h. Moreover, anticlass I IFN antibodies abolish the cytolytic capacity of Poly I:C-activated macrophages. Hence, Poly I:C-induced macrophage-mediated cytolysis of 3LL-R cells may result from 1) the induction of macrophages by Poly I:C to secrete high amounts of TNF-alpha and class I IFN and 2) a synergism between IFN-alpha/IFN-beta and TNF-alpha on lysis of 3LL-R cells. This synergism does not result from a class I IFN-mediated enhancement of TNF-alpha receptor expression on 3LL-R cells. Therefore, the sensitivity of 3LL-R cells to TNF-alpha-mediated lysis in the presence of class I IFN is most probably regulated at the post-TNF-alpha receptor level. Furthermore, treatment of mice with Poly I:C strongly reduces the metastatic capacity of 3LL-R tumor cells, suggesting the participation of macrophages in the eradication of the established metastasis. Hence, TNF-alpha-resistant 3LL-R tumor cells may serve as a useful tool for the detection of alternative macrophage-related cytotoxins leading to the destruction of neoplastic cells both in vitro and in vivo.

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