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J Immunol. 2008 Apr 1;180(7):4495-506.

In vivo regulation of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by NK cells: alteration of primary adaptive responses.

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  • 1Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Cancer and Inflammation Program, National Cancer Institute-Center for Cancer Research, SAIC-Frederick, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.


Innate immune responses provide the host with its first line of defense against infections. Signals generated by subsets of lymphocytes, including NK cells, NKT cells, and APC during this early host response determine the nature of downstream adaptive immune responses. In the present study, we have examined the role of innate NK cells in an autoimmune model through the use of primary immunization with the myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide to induce experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Our studies have shown that in vivo depletion of NK cells can affect the adaptive immune responses, because NK cells were found to regulate the degree of clinical paralysis and to alter immune adaptive responses to the myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide. The requirement for NK cells was reflected by changes in the T cell responses and diminished clinical disease seen in mice treated with anti-NK1.1, anti-asialo GM1, and selected Ly49 subtype-depleted mice. In addition to alteration in T cell responses, the maturational status of dendritic cells in lymph nodes was altered both quantitatively and qualitatively. Finally, examination of TCR Vbeta usage of the brain lymphocytes from EAE mice indicated a spectra-type change in receptor expression in NK- depleted mice as compared with non-NK-depleted EAE mice. These findings further establish a recently postulated link between NK cells and the generation of autoreactive T cells.

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