Modulation of human natural killer cell activity by recombinant human interleukin 2

Cell Immunol. 1985 Mar;91(1):193-200. doi: 10.1016/0008-8749(85)90043-7.


Recombinant human IL-2, secreted by yeast harboring a plasmid containing a synthetic IL-2 gene, is biologically active in augmenting human natural killer (NK) cell activity. A dose-dependent linear stimulation of NK activity was obtained against the chronic myelogenous leukemia cell line K562 over the range 3 to 300 units/ml of IL-2. Enhancement of NK activity was similarly demonstrable against the less NK-sensitive carcinoma cell lines LoVo and SKOSC. IL-2 could also be demonstrated to augment antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) against SKOSC targets. IL-2 responsiveness segregated with a non-E-rosetting fraction comprising 11% of postfractionation lymphocytes and containing 94% of the recoverable NK activity, suggesting that IL-2 might operate directly upon the NK cell rather than through an accessory cell. This is believed to be the first demonstration of NK stimulatory activity by the product of a totally synthetic human IL-2 gene. The availability, purity, and NK-enhancing properties of the recombinant IL-2 make it a potentially important agent for clinical trial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Separation
  • Colonic Neoplasms / immunology
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic*
  • Humans
  • Interferon Type I / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-2 / physiology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Osteosarcoma / immunology
  • Rectal Neoplasms / immunology


  • Interferon Type I
  • Interleukin-2