Blastogenesis of large granular lymphocytes in nonlymphoid organs

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pathology

Publication Date


Document Type



Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


High numbers of large granular lymphocytes (LGL) accumulate in the livers and peritoneal cavities of mice during the course of viral infection. Accumulation of natural killer (NK) cells at day 3 postinfection (p.i.) was shown to be radiation-sensitive, implying that proliferation was required for this response. Accumulation occurred in splenectomized mice, indicating that the spleen, known to be an organ for mature NK cell proliferation, was not the major source for liver and peritoneal NK/LGL. Significant percentages (greater than 25%) of the LGL found in the liver and peritoneal cavity following viral infection or interferon induction with poly-inosinic:poly-cytidylic acid were defined morphologically as blasts (large cells with prominent nucleoli and intensely basophilic cytoplasms containing azurophilic granules). Most blast LGL at day 3 p.i. were sensitive to administration of anti-asialo GM1 serum in vivo, were Lyt-2-, and were enriched in populations that lysed NK cell-sensitive targets in vitro, indicating that these were NK/LGL. At day 3 p.i., leukocytes from the liver and peritoneal cavity incorporated 3H-thymidine and bound to and killed NK cell-sensitive targets in single-cell cytotoxicity assays. These data suggest that NK/LGL undergo at least one round of division in the liver and peritoneal cavity during viral infection. In contrast, blast LGL at day 7 p.i. were resistant to in vivo treatments with anti-asialo GM1 serum, were Lyt-2+, and were enriched in populations of cells that killed virus-infected histocompatible targets, indicating that they were cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). These results suggest that both NK/LGL and CTL/LGL are capable of blastogenesis and presumed proliferation at sites of virus infection, providing a means for the in situ augmentation of a host's cell-mediated antiviral defenses.

DOI of Published Version



J Leukoc Biol. 1988 Jun;43(6):492-501.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of leukocyte biology

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PubMed ID