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Eur J Immunol. 2010 Aug;40(8):2289-95. doi: 10.1002/eji.200939910.

TGF-β affects development and differentiation of human natural killer cell subsets.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


Human peripheral blood NK cells may be divided into two main subsets: CD56(bright)CD16(-) and CD56(dim)CD16(+). Since TGF-β is known to influence the development of many leukocyte lineages, its effects on NK cell differentiation either from human CD34(+)Lin(-) hematopoietic progenitor/stem cells in vitro or from peripheral blood NK cells were investigated. TGF-β represses development of NK cells from CD34(+) progenitors and inhibits differentiation of CD16(+) NK cells. Moreover, TGF-β also results in conversion of a minor fraction of CD56(bright)CD16(+) cells found in peripheral blood into CD56(bright)CD16(-) cells, highlighting a possible role of the former as a developmental intermediate and of TGF-β in influencing the genesis of NK subsets found in blood.

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