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Possible roles of KIR2DL4 expression on uNK cells in human pregnancy

Medical Research Center, Taizhou Hospital of Zhejiang Province, Wenzhou Medical College, Linhai, Zhejiang, People's Republic of China.
American journal of reproductive immunology (New York, N.Y.: 1989) (Impact Factor: 2.67). 05/2007; 57(4):233-42. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0897.2007.00469.x
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ABSTRACT To investigate possible roles of the natural killer (NK) cell receptor killer immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR)2DL4 expressed on uterine NK (uNK) cells during pregnancy, we investigated KIR2DL4 expression on uNK cells isolated from patients with early recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA) and normal early pregnancy women, and functions of KIR2DL4 was analyzed in vitro. METHODS OF THE STUDY: Semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis was introduced to detect KIR2DL4 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression on uNK cells. Cytotoxicity and cytokine production as the result of interaction of KIR2DL4 and its ligand human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-G were analyzed in vitro with lactic dehydrogenase releasing method and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively.
No significant difference in KIR2DL4 mRNA expression was observed, while the KIR2DL4 protein level in isolated uNK cells is much higher in normal controls than that in RSA patients. Data showed that HLA-G transfection could not reverse the lysis of uNK against HLA-G transfected K562 cells but induced cytokine production. Furthermore, we demonstrated that, via KIR2DL4, membrane-bound HLA-G could induce high cytotoxicity and cytokine production in a high cytotoxic, IL-2 dependent human NK cell line NK-92 cells.
Our data suggest that KIR2DL4 might play a crucial implication for human pregnancy.

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    • "Of particular interest is the role of either KIRs or HLA antigen in RSA. Available data show that the KIRs of NK cells in deciduas, that bind to HLA ligands on trophoblast cells, appear to induce high cytotoxicity and cytokine production in a high cytotoxic, which in turn contribute to pregnancy loss [14] [15]. However, their precise functions at the fetus–maternal interface still remain unknown. "
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    ABSTRACT: Accumulating evidence indicates natural killer (NK) cells play crucial roles in successful pregnancy. To investigate whether the killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) gene polymorphism and the corresponding specific HLA ligands in parent couples possessing a susceptibility to unexplained recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA), we searched 73 pairs of childless couples with three or more abortions characterized as unexplained RSA and 68 pairs of healthy control couples. Peripheral blood was drawn to obtain genomic DNA which was used for a polymerase chain reaction using sequence-specific primers (PCR-SSP) in order to determine whether 15 selected KIR genes and two groups of HLA-C alleles were present. Our result showed that gene frequency of KIR2DS1 was higher in patients with RSA compared to that of control subjects (P =0.029). Increased numbers of activating KIR genes was observed in patients (P =0.041). Women who possessed more than two activating KIR genes were found more frequently in patients than those in control subjects (P =0.018). From a cohort of husband and wife couples, the women with a KIR2DS1 gene, and with a decreased group 2 HLA-C allele for the homologous inhibitory receptor KIR2DL1, had a tendency to fall into the RSA group (P =0.004). The results suggest that a genetic variation at the KIR locus influences the susceptibility to unexplained RSA in the Chinese Han population. Moreover, decreased ligands for inhibitory KIRs could potentially lower the threshold for NK cell activation, mediated through activating receptors, thereby contributing to pathogenesis of RSA.
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Nous avons mesuré les taux de l’IL-18 et de l’IL-18BP circulantes dans les sérums des patients infectés par le VIH en les comparants avec le même nombre de personnes saines et séronégatives. Nous avons aussi déterminé le nombre total des différents sous-types de cellules NK et analysé l’activité des cellules NK (Natural Killer). Finalement nous avons cherché à déterminer si l’IL-18 pouvait induire l’apoptose des cellules NK en activant l’expression de Fas ligand. Nos résultats nous démontrent que les patients infectés par le VIH ont trois fois plus d’IL-18 que les donneurs sains. Cependant les niveaux d’IL-18BP sont plus bas chez les patients infectés comparés aux donneurs sains. Alors, le ratio IL-18/IL-18BP est augmenté chez les patients infectés, ce qui entraîne une grande quantité d’IL-18 libre et biologiquement active circulante dans leur organisme. Nos études démontrent que chez ces patients, les concentrations d’IL-18 sont en corrélation négative avec l’activité cytotoxique de leurs cellules NK. Nos études in vitro démontrent que le traitement des cellules NK par l’IL-18 induit de façon fratricide leur apoptose en augmentant l’expression de Fas ligand. Finalement, cette production non coordonnée de ces deux facteurs pourrait contribuer à une immunopathologie induite par l’IL-18 en entraînant une apoptose fratricide des cellules NK qui possèdent un rôle important dans la réponse antivirale. Le dérèglement de l’homéostasie des cellules NK pourrait donc contribuer à la pathogenèse induite par le VIH. HIV-1, the causative agent of AIDS, induces a deregulated production of several immunologically important cytokines in the infected persons. One of these cytokines is IL-18: a powerful proinflammatory cytokine that can regulate both innate and adaptive immune responses. In vivo, its activity is tightly regulated by IL-18 Binding Protein (IL-18BP), another cytokine that specifically binds and neutralizes IL-18 with high affinity. Previous studies have shown that IL-18 concentrations are significantly increased in the circulation of HIV-infected AIDS patients compared to those in healthy people. However, it is not yet clear how the increased levels of this cytokine affect the development of AIDS in HIV infected persons. Furthermore, little is known concerning the production of IL-18 antagonist (IL-18BP) in these patients. These issues were addressed in the studies presented in this thesis. We measured levels of IL-18 and IL-18BP in the sera of HIV-infected patients by using commercial ELISA kits and compared them with the values obtained from a similar number of healthy HIV-seronegative persons. 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These results suggested the involvement of IL-18 in the disappearance of NK cells that prompted us to determine the potential cytocidal effects of this cytokine on human NK cells. The results from our in vitro experiments show that recombinant human IL-18 and IL-18-rich sera from AIDS patients caused apoptosis in a human NK cell line as well as in primary human NK cells. Anti-FasL antagonist antibodies inhibited this cell death. In a series of experiments, we found that IL-18 enhances expression of FasL but does not affect the expression of Fas on human NK cells. In vitro IL-18 also stimulated transcription from human FasL promoter. Furthermore, the cytokine also enhanced susceptibility of NK cells to Fas-mediated death, as it decreased the expression of an anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-XL. Our study shows that enhanced IL-18 bioactivity in HIV-infected patients may contribute to the pathogenesis of AIDS by disrupting NK cell homoeostasis.
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