Send to

Choose Destination
Immunology. 2009 Jan;126(1):140-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2567.2008.02887.x. Epub 2008 Jun 18.

Increased proportion of CD56bright natural killer cells in active and inactive systemic lupus erythematosus.

Author information

Department of Microbiology, Tumour and Cell Biology, Strategic Research Center IRIS, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Natural killer (NK) cells belong to the innate immune system but can also affect adaptive immune reactions. This immune regulatory function is often ascribed to the CD56(bright) subpopulation of NK cells that is prevalent in secondary lymphoid tissues and has potent cytokine-producing ability. The NK cells have been described as affecting autoimmune disease and stimulating B-cell production of antibodies, but their role in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) pathology has not been extensively studied. We have studied NK cells in SLE, a B-cell-driven systemic autoimmune disease, and phenotypically characterized peripheral blood NK cells in comparison to NK cells from patients with immunoglobulin A nephritis, rheumatoid arthritis and healthy individuals. We have found an increased proportion of CD56(bright) NK cells in SLE, regardless of disease activity. We detected a somewhat increased expression of the activating receptor NKp46/CD335 on NK cells from SLE patients, although neither the percentage of NK cells of all lymphocytes nor the expression of other NK receptors analysed (LIR-1/CD85j, CD94, NKG2C/CD159c, NKG2D/CD314, NKp30/CD337, NKp44/CD336, CD69) differed between patient groups. We show that type I interferon, a proinflammatory cytokine known to be abundant in SLE, can cause increases of CD56(bright) NK cells in vitro. We confirmed that serum levels of interferon-alpha were increased in active, but not in inactive, disease in the SLE patient group. In conclusion, we found an increased proportion of CD56(bright) NK cells in the blood of SLE patients, although it remains to be examined whether and how this relates to the disease process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center