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Concept: Natural killer cell

257

Elderly people have increased susceptibility to infections and cancer that are associated with decline in cellular immune function. The objective of this work was to determine the efficacy of Bifidobacterium (B.) animalis ssp. lactis HN019 (HN019) supplementation on cellular immune activity in healthy elderly subjects. We conducted a systematic review of Medline and Embase for controlled trials that reported polymorphonuclear (PMN) cell phagocytic capacity or natural killer (NK) cell tumoricidal activity following B. lactis HN019 consumption in the elderly. A random effects meta-analysis was performed with standardized mean difference (SMD) and 95% confidence interval between probiotic and control groups for each outcome. A total of four clinical trials were included in this analysis. B. lactis HN019 supplementation was highly efficacious in increasing PMN phagocytic capacity with an SMD of 0.74 (95% confidence interval: 0.38 to 1.11, p < 0.001) and moderately efficacious in increasing NK cell tumoricidal activity with an SMD of 0.43 (95% confidence interval: 0.08 to 0.78, p = 0.02). The main limitations of this research were the small number of included studies, short-term follow-up, and assessment of a single probiotic strain. In conclusion, daily consumption of B. lactis HN019 enhances NK cell and PMN function in healthy elderly adults.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Epidemiology, Virus, Randomized controlled trial, Effectiveness, Natural killer cell, Bifidobacterium animalis

172

BACKGROUND: The use of natalizumab in multiple sclerosis (MS) may favour JC virus reactivation; this phenomenon is usually asymptomatic but can, albeit rarely, evolve into frank progressive multifocal leucoencephalopathy (PML). METHODS: JCV-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes were evaluated by flow cytometry over a 24-month period in 24 natalizumab-treated MS patients in whom JCV DNA was or was not detected in blood using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction; all these cases were asymptomatic. RESULTS: Perforin- and grazymes-containing VP-1-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes were reduced whereas CD107a-expressing cells were increased in JCV positive patients, suggesting an active degranulation of these cells; naive CD8+ T lymphocytes were also decreased whereas memory cells were increased in patients in whom JCV reactivation was observed. CONCLUSION: The presence of a CD8+ T lymphocyte-mediated effector immune response offers a greater insight into reactivation of JCV and its clinical sequelae, and may help the monitoring of patients on natalizumab therapy.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, DNA, Polymerase chain reaction, Natural killer cell, Multiple sclerosis, Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, JC virus

171

Interferon-beta (IFNB) therapy for multiple sclerosis can lead to the induction of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) against IFNB. Various methods are used for detection and quantification of NAbs.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Cytokine, Natural killer cell, Interferon, Multiple sclerosis, Interferon beta-1a, Interferon beta-1b

169

The immune responses of natural killer cells are regulated, in part, by killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR). The 16 closely-related genes in the KIR gene system have been diversified by gene duplication and unequal crossing over, thereby generating haplotypes with variation in gene copy number. Allelic variation also contributes to diversity within the complex. In this study, we estimated allele-level haplotype frequencies and pairwise linkage disequilibrium statistics for 14 KIR loci. The typing utilized multiple methodologies by four laboratories to provide at least 2x coverage for each allele. The computational methods generated maximum-likelihood estimates of allele-level haplotypes. Our results indicate the most extensive allele diversity was observed for the KIR framework genes and for the genes localized to the telomeric region of the KIR A haplotype. Particular alleles of the stimulatory loci appear to be nearly fixed on specific, common haplotypes while many of the less frequent alleles of the inhibitory loci appeared on multiple haplotypes, some with common haplotype structures. Haplotype structures cA01 and/or tA01 predominate in this cohort, as has been observed in most populations worldwide. Linkage disequilibrium is high within the centromeric and telomeric haplotype regions but not between them and is particularly strong between centromeric gene pairs KIR2DL5∼KIR2DS3S5 and KIR2DS3S5∼KIR2DL1, and telomeric KIR3DL1∼KIR2DS4. Although 93% of the individuals have unique pairs of full-length allelic haplotypes, large genomic blocks sharing specific sets of alleles are seen in the most frequent haplotypes. These high-resolution, high-quality haplotypes extend our basic knowledge of the KIR gene system and may be used to support clinical studies beyond single gene analysis.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Gene, Genetics, Evolution, Virus, Natural killer cell, Haplotype

168

Two populations of human natural killer (NK) cells can be identified in peripheral blood. The majority are CD3(-)CD56(dim) cells while the minority exhibits a CD3(-)CD56(bright) phenotype. In vitro evidence indicates that CD56(bright) cells are precursors of CD56(dim) cells, but in vivo evidence is lacking. Here, we studied NK cells from a patient that suffered from a melanoma and opportunistic fungal infection during childhood. The patient exhibited a stable phenotype characterized by a reduction in the frequency of peripheral blood CD3(-)CD56(dim) NK cells, accompanied by an overt increase in the frequency and absolute number of CD3(-)CD56(bright) cells. These NK cells exhibited similar expression of perforin, CD57 and CD158, the major activating receptors CD16, NKp46, NKG2D, DNAM-1, and 2B4, as well as the inhibitory receptor CD94/NKG2A, on both CD56(bright) and CD56(dim) NK cells as healthy controls. Also, both NK cell subpopulations produced IFN-γ upon stimulation with cytokines, and CD3(-)CD56(dim) NK cells degranulated in response to cytokines or K562 cells. However, upon stimulation with cytokines, a substantial fraction of CD56(dim) cells failed to up-regulate CD57 and CD158, showed a reduction in the percentage of CD16(+) cells, and CD56(bright) cells did not down-regulate CD62L, suggesting that CD56(dim) cells could not acquire a terminally differentiated phenotype and that CD56(bright) cells exhibit a maturation defect that might result in a potential altered migration pattern. These observations, support the notion that NK cells of this patient display a maturation/activation defect that precludes the generation of mature NK cells at a normal rate accompanied by CD56(dim) NK cells that cannot completely acquire a terminally differentiated phenotype. Thus, our results provide evidence that support the concept that in vivo CD56(bright) NK cells differentiate into CD56(dim) NK cells, and contribute to further understand human NK cell ontogeny.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Natural killer cell, Interferon, Interleukin, Cytotoxicity, Perforin, Granzyme

167

Natural killer (NK) cells represent a key component of the innate immune system against cancer. Nevertheless, malignant diseases arise in immunocompetent individuals despite tumor immunosurveillance. Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is characterized by CD30+ tumor cells and a massive infiltration of immune effector cells in affected lymph nodes. The latter obviously fail to eliminate the malignant cell population. Here, we tested for functional NK cell defects in HL and suggest an improvement of NK function by therapeutic means. We demonstrate that peripheral NK cells (pNK) from patients with HL fail to eliminate HL cell lines in ex vivo killing assays. Impaired NK cell function correlated with elevated serum levels of soluble ligands for NK cell receptors NKp30 (BAG6/BAT3) and NKG2D (MICA), factors known to constrict NK cell function. In vitro, NK cell cytotoxicity could be restored by an NKG2D/NKp30-independent bispecific antibody construct (CD30xCD16A). It artificially links the tumor receptor CD30 with the cytotoxicity NK cell receptor CD16A. Moreover, we observed that NK cells from patients treated with this construct were generally activated and displayed a restored cytotoxicity against HL target cells. These data suggest that reversible suppression of NK cell activity contributes to immune evasion in HL and can be antagonized therapeutically.Molecular Therapy (2013); doi:10.1038/mt.2013.14.

Concepts: Immune system, Lymphocyte, Antibody, Protein, Cancer, Innate immune system, Natural killer cell, Cytotoxicity

150

It is known that natural killer (NK) cell function is downregulated in chronic hepatitis B (CHB)-infected patients and in hepatic carcinoma (HCC) patients, but the mechanisms underlying this functional downregulation are largely unclear. In this study, microRNA (miR)-146a expression increased in NK cells from CHB and HCC patients compared with NK cells from healthy donors, and miR-146a levels were negatively correlated to NK cell functions. Overexpression of miR-146a reduced NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity and the production of interferon (IFN)-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α, which were reversed upon inhibition of miR-146a. In NK cells, miR-146a expression was induced by interleukin (IL)-10 and transforming growth factor-β, but reduced after treatment with interleukin-12, IFN-α and IFN-β. We further revealed that miR-146a regulated NK cell functions by targeting STAT1. Taken together, upregulated miR-146a expression, at least partially, attributes to NK cell dysfunction in CHB and HCC patients. Therefore, miR-146a may become a therapeutic target with great potential to ameliorate NK cell functions in liver disease.Cellular & Molecular Immunology advance online publication, 21 March 2016; doi:10.1038/cmi.2015.113.

Concepts: Immune system, Cirrhosis, Hepatitis, Natural killer cell, Interferon, Cytotoxicity, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B

147

HIV-HCV co-infection is associated with accelerated progression to hepatic fibrosis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma than HCV mono-infection. The contribution of innate immunity during HIV-HCV co-infection has been a relatively under-investigated area. Natural killer (NK) cells are pivotal sentinels of innate immunity against viruses and tumour cells. In this study we evaluated the effect of HIV-HCV co-infection on peripheral blood NK cell subsets with emphasis on the phenotype of CD56(bright) NK cells.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Gene, Cancer, Virus, Cirrhosis, Natural killer cell, Interferon

140

During the last decades, the pleiotropic antitumor functions exerted by type I interferons (IFNs) have become universally acknowledged, especially their role in mediating interactions between the tumor and the immune system. Indeed, type I IFNs are now appreciated as a critical component of dendritic cell (DC) driven T cell responses to cancer. Here we focus on IFN-α and IFN-β, and their antitumor effects, impact on immune responses and their use as therapeutic agents. IFN-α/β share many properties, including activation of the JAK-STAT signaling pathway and induction of a variety of cellular phenotypes. For example, type I IFNs drive not only the high maturation status of DCs, but also have a direct impact in cytotoxic T lymphocytes, NK cell activation, induction of tumor cell death and inhibition of angiogenesis. A variety of stimuli, including some standard cancer treatments, promote the expression of endogenous IFN-α/β, which then participates as a fundamental component of immunogenic cell death. Systemic treatment with recombinant protein has been used for the treatment of melanoma. The induction of endogenous IFN-α/β has been tested, including stimulation through pattern recognition receptors. Gene therapies involving IFN-α/β have also been described. Thus, harnessing type I IFNs as an effective tool for cancer therapy continues to be studied.

Concepts: Immune system, White blood cell, Antibody, Cancer, Apoptosis, Immunology, Natural killer cell, Interferon

124

Asbestos exposure causes malignant tumors such as lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma. Based on our hypothesis in which continuous exposure to asbestos of immune cells cause reduction of antitumor immunity, the decrease of natural killer cell killing activity with reduction of NKp46 activating receptor expression, inhibition of cytotoxic T cell clonal expansion, reduced CXCR3 chemokine receptor expression and production of interferon-γ production in CD4+ T cells were reported using cell line models, freshly isolated peripheral blood immune cells from health donors as well as asbestos exposed patients such as pleural plaque and mesothelioma. In addition to these findings, regulatory T cells (Treg) showed enhanced function through cell-cell contact and increased secretion of typical soluble factors, interleukin (IL)-10 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, in a cell line model using the MT-2 human polyclonal T cells and its sublines exposed continuously to asbestos fibers. Since these sublines showed a remarkable reduction of FoxO1 transcription factor, which regulates various cell cycle regulators in asbestos-exposed sublines, the cell cycle progression in these sublines was examined and compared with that of the original MT-2 cells. Results showed that cyclin D1 expression was markedly enhanced, and various cyclin-dependent kinase-inhibitors were reduced with increased S phases in the sublines. Furthermore, the increase of cyclin D1 expression was regulated by FoxO1. The overall findings indicate that antitumor immunity in asbestos-exposed individuals may be reduced in Treg through changes in the function and volume of Treg.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Cancer, Signal transduction, Natural killer cell, Cell cycle, Mesothelioma, Asbestos