Send to

Choose Destination
J Leukoc Biol. 2011 Feb;89(2):221-33. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0510250. Epub 2010 Aug 3.

The defensive alliance between neutrophils and NK cells as a novel arm of innate immunity.

Author information

Division of General Pathology, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.


The immune system is equipped with a plethora of mechanisms that protect the host from the harmful effects of environmental insults. However, the traditional "hierarchical" view of the immune response, in which innate, "nonspecific" cells are first recruited to the site of damage, before the highly "specific", adaptive immune response develops, has been questioned recently. First, the innate response is much more specific than recognized previously: indeed, each cell of the innate system is not only endowed with an ever-expanding array of germ-line-encoded receptors, which differentiate between distinct insults, but also is modulated continuously by other leukocytes that concomitantly interact with and respond to that particular insult. The other reason is that the cells of the innate system are instrumental for the adaptive system to accomplish its function, as they can also modulate the activity of lymphocytes reciprocally during the entire course of the immune response. This complex pattern of interactions is illustrated by recent advances on the functions of PMNs, clearly showing that unexpectedly, these cells also contribute to the regulation of the host immune response by crosstalk with innate and adaptive leukocytes, including NK cells. Herein, given the peculiar role of neutrophils and NK cells in inflammation, clearance of pathogens/viral-infected cells, and cancer immunosurveillance, we summarize the current knowledge about the mechanisms whereby neutrophils and NK cells interact and regulate the activities of one another, as well as discuss their potential implications involved in the pathogenesis of chronic, inflammatory pathologies, infections, and tumors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center