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Arthritis Res Ther. 2004;6(1):8-14. Epub 2003 Dec 9.

Natural killer cells and autoimmunity.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, USA.


Autoimmune diseases are often characterized as clinical syndromes caused by the inappropriate activation of T or B cells resulting in systemic or organ-specific damage. However, studies support a role for the innate immune system, and in particular natural killer (NK) cells, in stimulating or suppressing autoimmunity. This review focuses on recent research elucidating a potential immunoregulatory role for NK cells in modulating T and B cell-mediated autoimmunity.

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