Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

Degree Name




First Advisor

Dr. Allison Mawle


Natural killer (NK) cells were first described 16 years ago. Studies with athymic or neonatally thymectomized mice showed they had relatively low incidences of carcinogen-induced tumors and good resistance during the initial encounter with viral infection. These mice lacked mature T cells, but had normal or elevated numbers of cells able to lyse certain tumor cell lines without prior stimulation. Subsequent studies have shown that NK activity can be enhanced by cytokines, specifically by interferons (IFN) and interleukin-2 (IL_2).

A second type of unrestricted tumor cell killing has been described. Lymphocytes, incubated overnight with IL-2, acquire the ability to kill both fresh tumor cells and tumor cell lines resistant to killing by NK cells. These cells are known as lymphokine-activated (LAK) cells.

This thesis will discuss the properties of LAK and NK cells, their unclear relationship with each other, and the regulatory effects of IFN and IL-2 on their activity.

Included in

Biology Commons