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Bone Marrow Transplant. 1990 Apr;5(4):259-64.

Two populations of CD56 (Leu-19)+/CD16+ cells in bone marrow transplant recipients.

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Department of Immunology/Microbiology, Rush-Presbyterian-St Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612.


Bone marrow transplant (BMT) recipients are severely immunocompromised during the early post-transplant period as their immune systems recapitulate. Among the first cells to repopulate the peripheral blood are natural killer (NK) cells. Studies in normal subjects have revealed that the majority of NK cells express CD16 and CD56 (Leu-19). Such NK cells express low density, dim, Leu-19 (Leu-19D+). A small percentage of high-density, bright, Leu-19 cells (Leu-19B+) which are CD16- have also been reported in normal subjects. In this study we observed that peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from BMT recipients contained two distinct populations of Leu-19+ cells that co-expressed CD16 and these populations could be separated on the basis of differential Leu-19 and CD16 fluorescence intensities. Leu-19B/CD16D and Leu-19D/CD-16B cells were present in four of nine BMT patients studied. Cells from one BMT recipient with a very large expansion of the Leu-19B+ population (46% of PBMC by flow cytometry) were studied in detail. While this patient is not characteristic of all BMT recipients, the large number of Leu-19+ cells that could be isolated from him allowed extensive analysis of a previously unreported population of cells. Our data suggest that BMT recipients can be an important group of subjects to evaluate NK cell subsets as these cells mature and, presumably, differentiate in a regenerating immune system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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