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Abstract

Lymphoid cells from many normal mice of a variety of inbred strains were found to have reactivity, in a 51Cr release cytotoxicity assay, against several syngeneic and allogeneic tumors. Very high reactivity was seen with effector cells from athymic nude mice, which was consistent with other evidence that the reactivity was not T-cell dependent. Target cells susceptible to lysis included tumors induced by oncogenic type-C viruses but also tumors induced by other means and expressing endogenous type-C viruses. The levels of natural reactivity were influenced by age, with highest cytotoxicity produced by cells from 5- to 8-week-old mice. Lymph-node cells, spleen cells, peritoneal exudate cells and peripheral blood lymphocytes all had cytotoxic reactivity. The specificity of the reactions was analyzed in detail by an inhibition assay. Evidence was obtained for natural reactivity against several different antigens, each apparently associated with expression of murine endogenous type-C viruses.