[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While stationary organ cells are in continuous contact with neighboring cells, immune cells circulate throughout the body without an apparent requirement for cell-cell contact to persist in vivo. This study challenges current convention by demonstrating, both in vitro and in vivo, that innate immune NK cells can engage in homotypic NK-to-NK cell interactions for optimal survival, activation, and proliferation. Using a specialized cell-laden microwell approach, we discover that NK cells experiencing constant NK-to-NK contact exhibit a synergistic increase in activation status, cell proliferation, and anti-tumor function in response to IL-2 or IL-15. This effect is dependent on 2B4/CD48 ligation and an active cytoskeleton, resulting in amplification of IL-2 receptor signaling, enhanced CD122/CD132 colocalization, CD25 upregulation, and Stat3 activation. Conversely, 'orphan' NK cells demonstrate no such synergy and fail to persist. Therefore, our data uncover the existence of homotypic cell-to-cell communication among mobile innate lymphocytes, which promotes functional synergy within the cytokine-rich microenvironment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human natural killer (NK) cells express an abundant level of 2B4 and CD2 on their surface. Their counter-receptors, CD48 and CD58, are also expressed on the NK cell surface, raising a question about the functional consequences of potential 2B4/CD48 and CD2/CD58 interactions. Using blocking antibodies specific to each receptor, we demonstrated that both 2B4/CD48 and CD2/CD58 interactions were essential for the development of NK effector functions: cytotoxicity and cytokine secretion. However, only 2B4/CD48, but not CD2/CD58, interactions were shown to be critical for the optimal NK cell proliferation in response to interleukin (IL)-2. IL-2-activated NK cells cultured in the absence of 2B4/CD48 or CD2/CD58 interactions were severely impaired for their ability to induce intracellular calcium mobilization and subsequent ERK activation upon tumor target exposure, suggesting that the early signaling pathway of NK receptors leading to impaired cytolysis and interferon (IFN)-γ secretion was inhibited. Nevertheless, these defects did not fully account for the reduced proliferation of NK cells in the absence of 2B4/CD48 interactions, because anti-CD2 or anti-CD58 monoclonal antibody (mAb)-treated NK cells, showing defective signaling and effector functions, displayed normal proliferation upon IL-2 stimulation. These results propose the signaling divergence between pathways leading to cell proliferation and cytotoxicity/cytokine release, which can be differentially regulated by 2B4 and CD2 during IL-2-driven NK cell activation. Collectively, these results reveal the importance of homotypic NK-to-NK cell cross-talk through 2B4/CD48 and CD2/CD58 pairs and further present their differential and overlapping roles in human NK cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of NK cells in allogeneic HCT has been increasingly appreciated, particularly in the GVL effect. Although FK506 has been used widely to prevent GVHD, its action was considered to be primarily through activated T cells. In this study, we provide direct evidence for the first time that human NK cells are immediate targets of FK506. Our in vivo data from patients undergoing peripheral blood stem cell transplantation or BMT showed a reduced number of NK cells with down-regulated CD25 expression in their peripheral blood compartment. Likewise, FK506 caused profound inhibition of NK cell proliferation in vitro and suppressed NK cytotoxicity and cytokine secretion in response to IL-2. These defects were accompanied by impaired cell clustering and selective down-regulation of adhesion molecules, ICAM-1, CD2, CD49d, and CD58. Furthermore, FK506 specifically inhibited expression of NKG2D, CD48, and DNAM1 receptors without affecting that of 2B4, NKp30, NKp44, and NKp46. As a result, natural cytotoxicity against K562 tumor targets was impaired, while leaving redirected ADCC via 2B4 intact. Finally, FK506-treated NK cells showed impaired IL-2R signaling and inhibition of STAT3. Collectively, these signaling impairments and selective down-regulation of NK receptors by FK506 may underlie the proliferative and functional defects of NK cells. Thus, our data provide a new insight into the mechanism of immunosuppression by FK506, which should be considered to interpret the outcome of graft transplantation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Engagement of 2B4 (CD244) with CD48 results in activation, costimulation, or inhibition of NK cell activities, depending on the cell types and the stage of differentiation. In vivo, 2B4+ NK cells can interact with CD48+ NK cells and also with surrounding CD48+ hematopoietic cells. Similarly, CD48+ NK cells may be triggered by adjacent 2B4+ NK cells or other hematopoietic cells expressing 2B4, e.g., monocytes, basophils, γδ T cells, etc. As CD48 was also shown to function as an activating receptor, 2B4/CD48 binding in the settings of NK-to-NK or NK-to-non-NK cell interactions may generate bidirectional signals. To address this question, we examined the consequence of CD48 or 2B4 ligation using two experimental settings: one with target (syngeneic EL4 and allogeneic P815) cells, ectopically expressing surface 2B4 or CD48, and the other with direct cross-linking with plate-bound mAb. Here, we report that ligation of CD48 with 2B4+ EL4 or 2B4+ P815 targets, in the absence of other receptor engagement, did not alter NK cell cytotoxicity or proliferation significantly. Similarly, cross-linking of NK cells with plate-bound anti-CD48 mAb in the absence or presence of a suboptimal dose of IL-2 did not modulate NK proliferation, cytotoxicity, or cytokine production. Nonetheless, 2B4 cross-linking promoted NK cell proliferation and effector functions consistently in both settings. Therefore, our results demonstrate unequivocally that CD48 on surrounding NK or non-NK cells serves primarily as a ligand to stimulate 2B4 on the adjacent NK cells in mice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the mechanistic basis underlying antirestenosis and the antiatherogenic effect of pioglitazone in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who were undergoing zotarolimus-eluting stent implantation.
Recent studies highlight the beneficial effect of pioglitazone in attenuating neointimal growth after stent implantation. Patients with coronary artery diseases were randomly assigned to pioglitazone (n=47) or placebo (n=47) after stent implantation. Pioglitazone significantly reduced neointimal hyperplasia within the stented lesion and attenuated total plaque burden in the in-segment regions of the stent, as assessed by intravascular ultrasonography at the 8-month follow-up. These changes were preceded by reduced circulating natural killer (NK) cells, diminished interleukin 6 and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 levels, and downregulation of chemokine receptor 2 at 2 days after stent implantation; and an elevated interleukin 10 level at 10 days after implantation. Furthermore, the proliferation and migration of vascular smooth muscle cells were inhibited in the presence of pioglitazone-treated patient serum, demonstrating that the antiproliferative effects of pioglitazone occurred concurrently with its antiinflammatory action.
Our data present early cellular and immunologic changes by pioglitazone that might have been associated with antirestenotic and antiatherogenic effects in diabetic patients. Inhibiting proinflammatory responses while promoting antiinflammatory circuits, together with an antiproliferative action, may, in part, account for the antirestenotic effect of pioglitazone by altering vascular remodeling processes in the early phase.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK) cells can destroy xenogeneic tissues by antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC) and direct lysis. Unlike ADCC, activating interactions between human NK receptors and their cognate ligands in pigs are not fully elucidated. We set up this study to identify human NK activating receptors recognizing porcine cells isolated from distinct organs, e.g., aorta, cornea and liver, and to provide a molecular basis for effective immunosuppressive regimens. Among the array of NK receptors tested, NKp46, 2B4, CD49d, CD48, CD2 and NKG2D, only CD2 and NKG2D were shown to be involved in both cytotoxicity and cytokine (interferon-gamma and tumour necrosis factor-alpha) production against porcine targets. Simultaneous blocking of CD2 and NKG2D by combining its monoclonal antibodies further suppressed xenogeneic NK responses. Moreover, addition of a suboptimal dose of PD98059, an extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) kinase inhibitor, to those cells maximally reduced NK cytotoxicity, suggesting that ERK plays an important role in NK-mediated xenoreactivity. These impairments in NK cells were tightly associated with defective intracellular calcium mobilization and the subsequent degranulation process. Therefore, our data demonstrate a distinct role of CD2 and NKG2D on human NK cells in recognizing porcine grafts and further provide a potentially efficacious combinational regimen using anti-CD2 and anti-NKG2D monoclonal antibodies with PD98059 in a pig-to-human transplantation model.