Author(s): Allavena P, Klein R, Ortaldo JR. Characterization of human large granular lymphocyte subpopulations: comparison of the phenotype of NK cells and of interleukin 2-dependent progenitors of cytolytic effector cells. Nat Immun Cell Growth Regul. 1985;4(1):7-20.
Antigenically different subpopulations of human large granular lymphocytes (LGL) were identified according to their reactivity with monoclonal antibodies (MoAb). Antigen-positive and -negative subsets were isolated by immunoaffinity columns using a Sepharose 4B gel coupled with F(a’)2 goat anti-mouse IgG or by flow cytometry cell sorting. The distinct LGL subsets were tested for natural killer (NK) activity against a panel of tumor targets: K562, Daudi, Alab; and for antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) against antibody-coated RL male 1 cells. LGL positively selected for any of the following phenotypic markers: B73.1+, OKM1+, OKT11+, and OKT10+ were highly cytotoxic, while B73.1- and OKM1- cells were completely devoid of NK activity. The OKT10- and OKT11- LGL subsets were occasionally cytotoxic, with low levels of reactivity. LGL subpopulations were also tested in a limiting dilution assay (LDA) for their capacity to proliferate in medium supplemented with interleukin 2 (IL-2) and to develop NK-like cytotoxic activity. The majority of proliferative progenitors have the following phenotype: OKT11+, OKM1-, B73.1-, and OKT10-, while the majority of progenitors for cytotoxic cells were OKT11+, OKM1+/-, OKT10+, and B73.1-. Results indicate that although B73.1+ cells can grow, the mature B73.1+ NK cells seem to be primarily derived in vitro from a small subset of less differentiated B73.1 pre-NK progenitors in the peripheral blood lymphocytes.