Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Mol Immunol. 2005 Feb;42(4):535-9.

Helper role of NK cells during the induction of anticancer responses by dendritic cells.

Author information

  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-1863, USA.


Recent reports demonstrate that natural killer (NK) cells and dendritic cells (DC) support each other's activity in a positive feedback. We observed that activated NK cells induce the maturation of DCs into stable type-1 polarized DCs (DC1), characterized by up to 100-fold enhanced ability to produce IL-12p70 in response to subsequent interaction with Th cells. DC1 induction depends on NK cell-produced IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha, with a possible involvement of additional factors. DC1, induced by NK cells or by NK cell-related soluble factors, are stable, resistant to tumor-related suppressive factors, and show strongly enhanced ability to induce Th1 and CTL responses. In analogy to resting T cells, the induction of "helper" function of NK cells relies on a two-signal activation paradigm. While NKG2D-dependent tumor cell recognition is sufficient to induce the cytotoxic "effector" function of NK cells, the induction of "NK cell help" requires additional signals from type-1 IFNs, products of virally-infected cells, or from IL-2. Compared to non-polarized DCs currently-used in clinical trials, DC1s act as superior inducers of anti-cancer CTL responses during in vitro sensitization. The current data provides rationale for the clinical use of DC1s in cancer and chronic infections (such as HIV), as a new generation DC-based vaccines, uniquely combining fully mature DC status with an elevated, rather than "exhausted" ability to produce bioactive IL-12p70. We are currently implementing stage I/II clinical trials, testing the effectiveness of DC1s induced by NK cells or by NK cell-related factors, as therapeutic vaccines against melanoma.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk