Extracellular cytolysis by leukaemic blast cells

F. Dallegri, F. Patrone, G. Frumento, A. Ballestrero, C. Sacchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Leukaemic blast cells from 20 patients with acute leukaemia were examined for their capacity to mediate cytotoxicity against ox red blood cells in the presence of phorbol myristate acetate (PMA), a system widely employed as an in vitro model of tissue damage by metabolically activated mature phagocytes. Blasts from certain patients with myelomonocytic and monocytic leukaemia behaved like efficient killer cells. Conversely, leukaemic myeloblasts and promyelocytes as well as leukaemic lymphoblasts were ineffective. Blast cells capable of inducing the target cell lysis were also capable of mounting an oxidative respiratory burst upon challenge with PMA, as detected by the superoxide anion release. N-ethyl-maleimide, superoxide dismutase and catalase completely inhibited the cytotoxicity by monocytoid blast cells, suggesting the involvement of oxygen reactive products in the lethal hit itself. The cytolytic potential of blasts committed to monocytic differentiation might be an additional factor contributing to the tissue damage in a subpopulation of leukaemic patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-152
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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