After depletion of monocytes, natural killer (NK) cells were partially purified from peripheral blood by Percoll density gradient sedimentation. The NK cells were then cultured for 1 d and assayed for their cytotoxicity against various types of normal and malignant target cells. All types of target cells tested were found to be susceptible to NK cells. The susceptible targets were autologous T and B lymphocytes, mitogen-induced T and B blasts, monocytes, large granular lymphocytes, autologous or allogeneic lymphoma and leukemia cells isolated from patients, and cultured cell lines, including those resistant to interferon-activated lymphocytes. Such a broad spectrum of cytotoxicity was demonstrated in 1 d of culture, and freshly prepared NK cells were not cytotoxic, or, if anything, were less cytotoxic. Monocytes and their supernatants, added throughout the course of culture, markedly inhibited the development of their cytotoxicity. These results may suggest that, although NK cells having ability to lyse autologous normal and malignant target cells are present in vivo, their lytic activity is regulated by coexisting monocytes.

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