The calmodulin antagonist W7 and 4 of its analogues were examined for their ability to inhibit human NK cell mediated cytotoxicity. With the exception of one of these compounds, which is extremely hydrophobic, there was a good correlation between the ability of drugs to inhibit human NK antitumour cytotoxicity and calmodulin-dependent phosphodiesterase activity in vitro. The most potent of the compounds, 5-iodo-l-C8, an analogue of W7, has an IC50 of 3 μM upon biological and biochemical assay. This particular compound is both more potent and specific than the parent compound W7, is non-toxic to cells over the range used and is also capable of inhibiting the biological activity of NK cells upon pre-treatment of the effector cells, inferring the mechanism of NK cytotoxicity to be calmodulin dependent.

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