Influence of elevated temperature on natural killer cell activity, lymphokine-activated killer cell activity and lectin-dependent cytotoxicity of human umbilical cord blood and adult blood cells

Rong Nian Shen, Li Lu, Peter Young, Homayoon Shidnia, Ned B. Hornback, Hal E. Broxmeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine whether hyperthermia is to the benefit or detriment of host immune function, the effect of hyperthermia was evaluated on various functions of T-lymphocytes from human umbilical cord blood and compared to that of adult blood. Methods and Materials: Nonadherent mononuclear cells from cord blood or adult blood were used as the effector cells. To generate lymphokine activated killer (LAK) cells, effector cells were kept in culture for 5 days in complete medium containing recombinant human interleukin-2. To activate effector cells to become cytotoxic, cells were kept in culture in complete medium containing Con A. Cytotoxicity was determined in a standard 4-h chromium release assay using K-562 human erythroleukemic cells (in the natural killer cell activity assay) or Daudi cells (in the LAK cell activity or Lectin dependent cytotoxicity assay) as targets. For heat effects, cells in complete medium were heated at the desired temperature in a water bath for 1 h. Results: Lymphokine-activated killer cell activity, lectin-dependent cytotoxicity and T-cell proliferative capacity were not deficient in human cord blood. Cytotoxic activities of T-cells from adult blood as well as from cord blood can be enhanced at febrile range (≤ 40°C), and were significantly decreased by exposure to 1 h at 42°C. Conclusion: The febrile responses (≤ 40°C) to infection, in the course of malignant disease and with biological response modifiers treatment, may all be related to host defense mechanisms. Based on these observations, whole body hyperthermia (≤ 40°C), in combination with the appropriate cytokines, may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of neonatal infections and malignancies under certain circumstances. Hyperthermia in febrile range may, therefore, confer an important immunoregulatory advantage to the host. In contrast, tumor killing therapeutic temperature (> 42°C) which inhibits host immunocompetence should probably be used only for local hyperthermia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-826
Number of pages6
JournalInternational journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 1994



  • Human umbilical cord blood
  • Hyperthermia
  • Immunocompetence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation

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