Effect of a recombinant lectin, Viscum album agglutinin on the secretion of interleukin-12 in cultured human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and on NK-cell-mediated cytotoxicity of rat splenocytes in vitro and in vivo

Tibor Hajto, Katarina Hostanska, Klaus Weber, Holger Zinke, Janos Fischer, Ulrich Mengs, Hans Lentzen, Reinhard Saller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A plant lectin, Viscum album agglutinin-I (VAA-I) has been shown to increase the number and cytotoxic activity of natural killer (NK) cells in animal models, but the mechanisms underlying these effects are poorly understood. We investigated the effects of the recombinant form of this lectin (rVAA) on secretion of interleukin (IL)-12 and on NK-mediated cytotoxicity against K562 target cells in cultures of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) as well as against YAC-1 target cells in cultured rat spleen cells. In 24-hour cultures of PBMC, 10 ng/ml plant VAA-I and 50 ng/ml rVAA induced significant increases in the secretion of total IL-12. Its biologically active heterodimeric form, p70, was also significantly induced by rVAA. Preincubation of PBMC or splenocytes for 48 h with rVAA in concentrations ranging between 10 pg/ml and 100 pg/ml resulted in moderate enhancements of NK-mediated cytotoxicity. However, coincubation of a low dose of rVAA (100 pg/ml) together with IL-2 and IL-12 (60 U/ml and 2 U/ml, respectively) led to additive stimulation of NK activity. In in vivo experiments, rVAA showed an enhancing effect on NK activity with a bell-shaped curve of efficacy. Forty-eight hours after a single intravenous injection of its most effective doses, 0.5 and 1 ng/kg, into Wistar rats, the NK cytotoxicity of splenocytes against YAC-1 targets doubled, and the frequency of large granular lymphocytes in peripheral blood showed 2.1- and 3-fold increases as compared to control animals. Twenty-four hours following these low lectin doses, the number of large granular lymphocytes was also significantly elevated. After 48 h, 0.5 ng/kg rVAA induced a significant augmentation in the percentage of peripheral Mac-1+ mononuclear cells, including activated monocytes and NK cells. The present results suggest that rVAA augments the secretion of an active form of IL-12 and potentiates the cytokine-induced NK activation. These effects of rVAA may be related to its stimulatory effects on MHC-unrestricted cytotoxicity in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-46
Number of pages13
JournalNatural Immunity
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 1998

Keywords

  • IL-12
  • Mac-1
  • NK cell activity
  • Recombinant mistletoe lectin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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