IL-2-activated human killer lymphocytes but not their secreted products mediate increase in albumin flux across cultured endothelial monolayers. Implications for vascular leak syndrome.

  • Damle N
  • Doyle L
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When cultured with IL-2, human lymphoid cells acquire the ability to lyse various NK-resistant tumor targets. Due to their anti-tumor cytolytic effect, clinical trials with IL-2 alone or IL-2 + IL-2-activated killer (IAK) lymphocytes have been undertaken. However, infusion of therapeutically effective doses of IL-2 is associated with the development of systemic toxicity characterized by exaggerated endothelial permeability, also known as vascular leak syndrome. The present study was designed to examine the effects of IAK cells and their secreted products on vascular endothelial permeability by using an in vitro endothelial permeability model in which the flux of FITC-albumin across endothelial cell (EC) monolayers was measured. When endothelial monolayers were exposed to IAK cells for 2 h, significant increases in the transendothelial permeability to albumin were observed. Exposure of EC to lymphocytes cultured in the absence of IL-2 did not induce significant alteration in the endothelial permeability. In addition, neither culture supernatants of IAK cells nor purified recombinant cytokines, including IL-1 beta, IL-2, IL-3, IL-4, IL-6, TNF-alpha, GM-CSF, M-CSF, and IFN-gamma, had any effect on endothelial permeability in this model. Prior activation of EC with TNF-alpha did not alter the increased permeability induced by IAK cells or lack of it by nonactivated lymphocytes. Dexamethasone treatment of IAK cells abolished their anti-tumor cytolytic effect but only partially inhibited their ability to induce increased endothelial permeability. Pretreatment of IAK cells with mAb directed at the CD11a/CD18 (LFA-1) adhesion complex, and that of EC with mAb directed at the ICAM-1 molecule, inhibited the IAK cell-induced increase in endothelial permeability. These results demonstrate that direct cell-to-cell contact between IAK cells and EC is necessary and sufficient to cause increased endothelial permeability in this model system, and may therefore be an important factor contributing to the development of the vascular leak syndrome observed clinically.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, CD45
  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Capillary Permeability
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dexamethasone
  • Endothelium, Vascular
  • Histocompatibility Antigens
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2
  • Killer Cells, Natural
  • Lymphocyte Function-Associated Antigen-1
  • Serum Albumin
  • Syndrome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • adverse effects
  • drug effects
  • immunology
  • metabolism
  • pharmacology
  • physiology

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  • N K Damle

  • L V Doyle

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