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Clin Rheumatol. 2014 Aug;33(8):1067-78. doi: 10.1007/s10067-014-2641-z. Epub 2014 May 7.

Role of cytolytic impairment of natural killer and natural killer T-cell populations in rheumatoid arthritis.

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Department of Biochemistry, Basic Medical Sciences Block, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.


Innate immunity has been widely accepted as one of the major cause for the alteration of immune system and progression of autoimmune diseases. Natural killer (NK) cells and natural killer T (NKT) cells have not been explored in clinical studies for their cytolytic components in association with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The literature available for these potential candidates is controversial in terms of their protective or pathogenic role in disease severity of RA. Present study explained the role of NK and NKT cell populations and intracellular expression of caspases, perforin, granzymes A and B in the pathogenesis of RA in patients. DAS28 score was measured as the disease severity. Immunochemical parameters were studied by using monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against different cell types in flow cytometry. Results indicated that that whatsoever is the change in percentage cell populations, ratio of NK and NKT cell populations always remained poised even in the disease state. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels were elevated with increased intracellular active caspase-3, perforin and granzyme expression in RA patients. Their elevated expressions were positively correlated with DAS28 suggesting the pathogenic role in RA. The expressions of pro-inflammatory cytokines were enhanced while the anti-inflammatory cytokine expressions were diminished in the patients. Present study may point towards futuristic therapeutic targets which can fascinate the pharmaceutical industries to selectively target these molecules in designing the therapeutic strategy of RA patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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