Cytotoxic Function and Cytokine Production of Natural Killer Cells and Natural Killer T-Like Cells in Systemic Lupus Erythematosis Regulation with Interleukin-15

Syh-Jae Lin, Ming-Ling Kuo, Hsiu-Shan Hsiao, Pei-Tzu Lee, Wen-I Lee, Ji-Yih Chen, Jing-Long Huang
Mediators of Inflammation 2019, 2019: 4236562
Natural killer cells and NKT-like cells are the first line immune defense against tumor and virus infection. Deficient NK and NKT-like cell effector function may contribute to increased susceptibility to infection in SLE patients. We sought to examine the perforin and granzyme B expression, interferon-gamma (IFN- γ ), and tumor-necrosis factor-alpha (TNF- α ) production and CD107a degranulation of NK and NKT-like cells from SLE patients and their regulation by IL-15. We established that (1) perforin expression on SLE NK cells was decreased but unrelated to disease activity; (2) the MFI of granzyme B was increased in NK cells from SLE patients with active disease, associated with increased percentages of granzyme B+ CD56bright NK cells; (3) NK cells from active SLE patients, both CD56dim and CD56bright NK subsets, produced higher IFN- γ compared to controls; (4) CD56dim , but not CD56bright NK cells from active SLE patients, produced lower TNF- α , compared to inactive SLE patients and controls; (5) CD107a degranulation of SLE NK cells was comparable to controls; (6) IL-15 enhanced perforin/granzyme B expression, IFN- γ /TNF- α production, and CD107a degranulation of NK cells from SLE patients; and (7) similar observations were found for CD56+ CD3+ NKT-like cells. Taken together, we demonstrated the differential expression of the heightened granzyme B and decreased TNF- α in NK and NKT-like cells in SLE patients. Higher granzyme B expression of NK and NKT-like cells in active SLE patients, further enhanced by circulating IL-15, may contribute to the maintenance of inflammation in SLE.

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