Previous studies showed that the Natural Killer (NK) activity of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) from cluster headache (CH) patients is lower than that of controls. This decreased activity seems to be independent of the cluster period. b-interferon has been shown to be more effective in increasing NK activity when incubated with PBL from CH patients, than with PBL from control donors.
Lymphokine-Activated Killer (LAK) cells can be generated by incubation of human PBL in recombinant Interleukin-2(rIL-2). This phenomenon was studied in 10 CH patients and 8 healthy volunteers. PBL were activated to LAK cells by “in vitro” incubation for 72 hours in Control Medium containing rIL-2 (1000 I.U./ml ). A four hour Chromium 51 release was used to measure LAK Cell Killing of K562 target cells. The released radioactivity was measured in a gamma scintillation counter.
The CH patients showed a marked increase of LAK generation compared to control subjects. This effect seems to be augmented during the cluster period.