The Augmentation of Natural Killer Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity by Selenium
Hay, Marshall B.
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Selenium inhibits the development of certain tumor cell lines in mice. One possible mechanism for this effect is selenium's augmentation of natural killer (NK) cell activity. Several investigators in the past have shown that NK cells from normal non-immunized mice and humans have cytotoxic activity against various tumor cell lines in vitro. The ability of these lymphoid cells to lyse tumor cells without prior immunization suggests NK cells as a first natural line of defense against tumor initiation and promotion. For this project three studies were designed to explore the effect of selenium on this immunological process. An in vivo survival study was set up to determine whether selenium effected the tumor development and death rate of tumor bearing mice. A second study measured the response of NK cell cytolytic activity to selenium intake in mice. A third study measured the modulation of human NK cell cytolytic activity by dietary selenium supplements. Results of these studies, presented in this report, indicate that selenium does increase NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity.