Complement receptor distinguishes between two subsets of large granular lymphocytes with different natural killer activity and cytochemical and ultrastructural features

A. Nocera, E. Montesoro, P. Balbo, M. Ferrarini, A. Leprini, A. Zicca, C. E. Grossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Human peripheral blood large granular lymphocytes (LGL) - that is, cells with intracytoplasmic azurophilic (electron-dose) granules, with a positivity for the cytochemical localization of certain acid hydrolases, and with acid surface receptors for the Fc portion of IgG - have been purified on Percoll density gradients. Approximately 30% of these cells expressed receptors for the third complement component (C3R). They were separated into C3R-positive and C3R-negative cells. C3R- cells had a significantly greater natural killer (NK) activity against K562 target cells than C3R+ cells. This difference was unrelated to the presence in the C3R+ cells of a contaminant cell type incapable of NK activity, since cytochemical and ultrastructural analysis revealed that C3R+ and C3R- fractions contained comparable LGL numbers. Agarose cytotoxicity assays at the single-cell level demonstrated that C3R+ LGL contained a large number of cells that bound to but did not lyse the target. The remaining fully cytotoxic C3R+ LGL had, however, the same killing and recycling properties as the cells from the C3R- fraction. Electron microscopy and cytochemical studies showed that C3R+ cells has fewer electron-dense granules than C3R- cells and stained more faintly for the localization of α-naphtyl acetate esterase. In contrast to cells, C3R+ LGL displayed morphological features that an active process of granule formation was taking place. Taken together, the data indicate that C3R+ cells represent a discrete subset or a maturational stage of LGL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-354
Number of pages10
JournalScandinavian Journal of Immunology
Volume18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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