Interleukin-12 induces cytotoxic NK1+ αβ T cells in the lungs of euthymic and athymic mice

R. Anzai, S. Seki, K. Ogasawara, W. Hashimoto, K. Sugiura, M. Sato, K. Kumagai, K. Takeda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


We recently reported that interleukin-12 (IL-12) stimulated hepatic NK1.1 Ag+ αβ T cells with intermediate T-cell receptor (TCR; NK1+ TCR(int) cells) and enhanced their NK1 expression (NK1(high) TCR(int)), and that these cells acquire strong major histocompatibility complex (MHC) unrestricted cytotoxicity in C57BL/6 mice, both +/+ and nu/nu. In the present study, we find that although murine lung normally has few NK1+ TCR(int) cells. NK1(high) TCR(int) cells are induced in +/+ and nu/nu mice after systemic administration of IL-12; these cells exhibit strong MHC unrestricted cytotoxicity against NK-sensitive and -resistant targets. A small number of NK1(high) TCR(int) cells was also found in peripheral blood after increased amounts of IL-12 were administered. Cytotoxicity tests in vitro revealed that the cytotoxic activity of the lung mononuclear cells (MNC) of C57BL/6 mice induced by IL-12 was abrogated by the depletion of either NK1+ or CD3+ cells, but not of CD8+ cells, as reportedly was the case of hepatic MNC, suggesting that NK1(high) TCR(int) cells are an antimetastatic population not only in the liver but also in the lung of mice. IL-12 injection into mice markedly elevates serum interferon-γ (IFN-γ) levels. However, although IL-12-induced cytotoxicity of NK1(high) TCR(int) cells was significantly reduced by anti-IFN-γ antibody injection (which decreased serum IFN-γ to an undetectable level), the appearance of NK1(high) TCR(int) cells in the lung and liver was not so affected. These results suggest that IFN-γ is an important mediator of the cytotoxicity of NK1(high) TCR(int) cells but is not an essential factor for induction of these cells. We also added data showing that IL-12 has a broad antimetastatic effect against various liver and lung metastatic tumours intravenously injected into several strains of mice, including NK-deficient bg/bg mice. It can be considered that, in addition to NK cells, CD8+ cytotoxic T cells and γδ T cells, NK1+ TCR(int) cells can be categorized as one of the cytotoxic effector populations. These novel type cells distinct from regular T cells may play an important role in monitoring intra- and perivascular areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-89
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Interleukin-12 induces cytotoxic NK1+ αβ T cells in the lungs of euthymic and athymic mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this