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eISSN: 1643-3750

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Propofol Promotes Activity and Tumor-Killing Ability of Natural Killer Cells in Peripheral Blood of Patients with Colon Cancer

Dongshui Liu, Xiaoshan Sun, Yue Du, Minmin Kong

(Department of Anesthesiology, Affiliated Hospital of Taishan Medical University, Taian, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24:6119-6128

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.911218


BACKGROUND: We investigated the effect of propofol on activities and tumor-killing ability of natural killer (NK) cells in patients with colon cancer.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Twenty colon cancer patients and 20 healthy subjects were included. Peripheral blood (5 ml) was collected from all patients and healthy subjects. NK cells in peripheral blood were separated by negative screening using immunomagnetic beads. Flow cytometry was used to determine expression of activated receptors, inhibitory receptors, killing effector molecules, and proliferation-associated markers on NK cell surfaces. After in vitro treatment with propofol for 24 h, expression of activated receptors, inhibitory receptors, killing effector molecules, and proliferation-associated markers on NK cell surfaces was examined again. In addition, the tumor-killing effect of NK cells was studied by co-culture with K562 cells or colon cancer SW620 cells at a ratio of 1: 1.
RESULTS: The number of NK cells in peripheral blood from colon cancer patients was increased compared with healthy subjects, but activities and proliferation ability of the NK cells were decreased. The tumor-killing effect of NK cells isolated from colon cancer patients was decreased. Of note, propofol promoted activation of NK cells from colon cancer patients. In addition, propofol increased expression of tumor-killing effector molecules by NK cells and the proliferation ability of NK cells. Propofol also enhanced the killing effect of NK cells on colon cancer cells.
CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrates that propofol promotes the activity and tumor-killing ability of NK cells in peripheral blood of patients with colon cancer.

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