We have investigated the phenotype of seven human glioma cell lines established in vitro from primary tumour explants. Indirect immunofluorescence and flow cytofluorimetry revealed a heterogeneous distribution of surface GE 2 and CG 12 Tumour Associated Antigens (TAA). In one group of cell lines TAA were detected both at the cell surface and in the cytosol, whereas in a second group of glioma cell lines TAA were found only in the cytosol. We have also investigated the sensitivity of glioma-derived cell lines to antibody-toxin and ligand-toxin conjugates (Immunotoxins). Monoclonal antibodies anti GE 2 antigen linked to ricin toxin A subunit (RTA) showed poor cytotoxicity, which increased about 50 fold when the whole toxin was linked to anti GE 2 monoclonals. Treatment with human recombinant interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) greatly augmented the percentage of HLA-DR+ cells and the amount of HLA-DR antigens per cell. IFN-gamma treatment resulted in a net increase of sensitivity to anti HLA-DR Immunotoxins (IT). Human diferric transferrin linked to RTA exhibited a potent cytotoxic effect against human glioma-derived cells when used in the presence of the lysosomotropic carboxylic ionophore monensin.
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