Mononuclear phagocytes, a pluripotential cell line, manifest an array of basic extracellular functions. Among these physiological regulatory functions is the expression of spontaneous cytolytic potential against tumor cell targets.
The limited observations on human cells, almost exclusively blood monocytes, initially reported limited or a lack of tumoricidal activity in the absence of antibody. More recently, freshly obtained monocytes have been reported to spontaneously impair the biability of tumor target cells in vitro (Harowitz et al., 1979; Montavani et al., 1979; Hammerstrom, 1979). Although the mechanism by which effector cells express cytotoxicity is poorly understood, discrete steps can be distinguished in the process of cell mediated cytotoxicity: recognition and binding of effector to target cells,a lethal-hit stage, and subsequent lysis of the target cell. Other important parameters in monocyte-mediated cytotoxicity include, activated state of the monocyte, effector cell concentrations, and target cell suseptibility. However, limited information is available with regard to the ultrastructural changes accompanying monocyte-mediated cytotoxicity.