A flow cytometric study of the membrane potential of natural killer and k562 cells during the cytotoxic process

Katarina Radosevic, Tom C. Bakker Schut, Marja van Graft, Bart G. de Grooth, Jan Greve

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    Abstract

    This study demonstrates that it is possible to investigate the membrane potential of interacting cells during the cytotoxic process using flow cytometry. Changes in the membrane potential of NK and K562 cells, involved in a cell-mediated cytotoxic process, were studied by standard and slit-scan flow cytometry, using the membrane potential sensitive fluorescent probe DiBAC4(3). The NK cells were labeled with a membrane marker (TR-18 or DiI) prior to incubation with K562 cells and the conjugates that were formed could be identified on the basis of the membrane marker fluorescence and light scattering signals. With a slit-scan technique we measured the membrane potential of each cell in a conjugate separately. The results show that depolarization of the K562 cell occurs as a consequence of the cytotoxic activity of the NK cell. This depolarization appears to be an early sign of cell damage because the cell membrane still remains impermeable to propidium iodide. Our data also indicate that depolarization of the NK cell occurs as a result of its cytotoxic activity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)119-128
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of immunological methods
    Volume161
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1993

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