The effect of natural killer cells on the development of syngeneic hematopoietic progenitors

L. A. Holmberg, B. A. Miller, K. A. Ault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


To determine whether natural killer (NK) cells are involved in the regulation of hematopoiesis, well-characterized, cell sorter-purified NK cells were incubated with syngeneic bone marrow, and the effect of this interaction on the development of various hematopoietic progenitors was assessed. NK cells were obtained from the peritoneal exudates of CBA/J mice after i.p. infection with live Listeria monocytogenes (LM). These NK cells were nylon wool-nonadherent and were purified by using M1/70, a rat anti-murine macrophage monoclonal antibody, and a fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS). Syngeneic bone marrow was incubated overnight with these M1/70-purified NK cells. The cells were then assayed in vitro to determine the effect on the colony formation of the following hematopoietic progenitor cells: the myeloid progenitor that produced mixed granulocyte/macrophage colonies (CFU-G/M), the myeloid progenitor that is commited to macrophage differentiation (CFU-M), and the early erythroid progenitor that is known as the burst-forming unit-erythroid (BFU-E). The marrow cells, after incubation with NK cells, were also injected into lethally irradiated syngeneic recipients to assay for the splenic colony formation capacity of the trilineage myeloid stem cell (CFU-S). Although the formation of BFU-E-, CFU-G/M-, and CFU-M-derived colonies was not adversely affected by the exposure of syngeneic bone marrow to purified NK cells, there was a dramatic decrease in the number of CFU-S-derived colonies. Incubation with NK-depleted cells did not result in an inhibition of colony formation by the CFU-S. Mixing experiments showed that the M1/70-labeled NK cells exerted their effect directly on the CFU-S and not on any accessory cells. The effect of the NK cells on colony formation by the CFU-S could be blocked competitively and selectively by the addition, before incubation, of a classic murine NK tumor target, Yac-1. Another tumor line (WTS) that is poorly reconigzed by NK cells was less effective in blocking the inhibitory effect of NK cells on CFU-S. The demonstration that purified NK cells can selectively inhibit the development of the tripotential CFU-S may point to the importance of NK cells in the regulation of hematopoiesis, in the development of some types of marrow dysfunction, and in the failure of engraftment of transplanted bone marrow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2933-2939
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1984

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of natural killer cells on the development of syngeneic hematopoietic progenitors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this