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Cytotoxic lymphocytes.

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About this work


Dr Ian MacLennan talks about ways in which the immune system brings about the destruction of foreign cells in the body. This is both a good and a bad thing for the body - good, for instance, if the foreign cells are virus-infected, but bad if the foreign cells are due to, among other things, graft rejection. MacLennan looks in technical detail at some of the reasons for foreign cell rejection, explaining the process by which rejection occurs in depth.


London : University of London Audio-Visual Centre, 1973.

Physical description

1 encoded moving image (45.06 min.) : sound, black and white.



Copyright note

University of London

Terms of use

Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales

Language note

In English

Creator/production credits

Presented by Dr Ian MacLennan. Introduced by Dr Ian Gilliland. Produced by Peter Bowen and David Sharp. Made for British Postgraduate Medical Federation. Made by University of London Audio-Visual Centre.


This video is one of around 310 titles, originally broadcast on Channel 7 of the ILEA closed-circuit television network, given to Wellcome Trust from the University of London Audio-Visual Centre shortly after it closed in the late 1980s. Although some of these programmes might now seem rather out-dated, they probably represent the largest and most diversified body of medical video produced in any British university at this time, and give a comprehensive and fascinating view of the state of medical and surgical research and practice in the 1970s and 1980s, thus constituting a contemporary medical-historical archive of great interest. The lectures mostly take place in a small and intimate studio setting and are often face-to-face. The lecturers use a wide variety of resources to illustrate their points, including film clips, slides, graphs, animated diagrams, charts and tables as well as 3-dimensional models and display boards with movable pieces. Some of the lecturers are telegenic while some are clearly less comfortable about being recorded; all are experts in their field and show great enthusiasm to share both the latest research and the historical context of their specialist areas.


Segment 1 Dr Ian Gilliland introduces Dr Ian MacLennan. MacLennan talks to camera, introducing the subject of how the immune system brings about the destruction of foreign cells. He describes some of the clinical situations in which this kind of destruction might occur. He refers to previous studies in depth which aimed to isolate different instances of foreign cell destruction. Time start: 00:00:00:00 Time end: 00:05:29:00 Length: 00:05:29:00
Segment 2 MacLennan continues to discuss previous research studies in the area of foreign cell destruction by the immune system. He refers to diagrams which attempt to illustrate what happens when this kind of destruction occurs. He speaks in detail about a 1965 study by Werner Muller in Stockholm in which Muller attempted to provoke cell killing through the use of artificially inseminated antibodies. Time start: 00:05:29:00 Time end: 00:11:37:00 Length: 00:06:08:00
Segment 3 The role of antibodies in cell killing is discussed further. MacLennan then introduces different ways of quantitating cytotoxic cells. He shows a graph which displays normal levels of cytotoxic cells in the blood then shows what happens when chromium is released from a target cell, thus inducing cell killing. Levels of cytotoxic cells in the blood on certain long-term medications are then shown in a graph. Time start: 00:11:37:00 Time end: 00:17:21:00 Length: 00:05:44:00
Segment 4 MacLennan shows a graph which details levels of cytotoxic cells in different lymphoid populations. He refers to an experiment on rats' spleens following thoracic duct drainage to alter the levels of cytotoxic cells in their blood. He describes the results of this experiment in depth. Time start: 00:17:21:00 Time end: 00:22:08:00 Length: 00:04:47:00
Segment 5 MacLennon continues to discuss the previous experiment on rats' spleens. He refers in detail, too, to a large variety of different factors in the immune system which might lead to cytotoxic cell production. Time start: 00:22:08:00 Time end: 00:33:39:00 Length: 00:11:31:00
Segment 6 MacLennan discusses further the earlier experiment on rats' spleens. He also talks about IgG in detail and analyses the role of this immune hormone on the body. Time start: 00:33:39:00 Time end: 00:39:54:00 Length: 00:06:15:00
Segment 7 MacLennan talks in further detail about IgG and shows a table listing different sub-classes of IgG. He ends the lecture by saying what a difficult subject it is to analyse and offering hints to further researchers. Time start: 00:39:54:00 Time end: 00:45:06:03 Length: 00:05:12:03


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