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Trends Immunol. 2005 Dec;26(12):668-75. Epub 2005 Sep 28.

Early liaisons between cells of the innate immune system in inflamed peripheral tissues.

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Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale, Università degli Studi di Genova, Via L.B. Alberti 2, 16132 Italy.


The crosstalk between natural killer (NK) cells and myeloid dendritic cells (DCs) results in NK-cell activation and DC maturation. Activated NK cells acquire the ability to kill DCs that have failed to undergo complete maturation ('DC editing'). Recent studies have revealed that this crosstalk can be promoted by pathogen-derived products that activate different innate immune cell types directly and simultaneously through their Toll-like receptors (TLRs). These cells include NK cells and DCs, as well as plasmacytoid DCs (PDCs) and mast cells. This crosstalk can have a great impact on the quality and strength of the subsequent adaptive immune response. Thus, NK cells have an important role in the defense against pathogens, acting as regulatory cells as well as effector cells.

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