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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Sep 6;113(36):10139-44. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1600112113. Epub 2016 Aug 22.

NK cells activated by Interleukin-4 in cooperation with Interleukin-15 exhibit distinctive characteristics.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Cell Growth and Differentiation, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0032, Japan;
2
Laboratory of Cell Growth and Differentiation, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0032, Japan; yenomoto@iam.u-tokyo.ac.jp miyajima@iam.u-tokyo.ac.jp.
3
Department of Tropical Medicine, The Jikei University School of Medicine, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8461, Japan.

Abstract

Natural killer (NK) cells are known to be activated by Th1-type cytokines, such as IL-2, -12, or -18, and they secrete a large amount of IFN-γ that accelerates Th1-type responses. However, the roles of NK cells in Th2-type responses have remained unclear. Because IL-4 acts as an initiator of Th2-type responses, we examined the characteristics of NK cells in mice overexpressing IL-4. In this study, we report that IL-4 overexpression induces distinctive characteristics of NK cells (B220(high)/CD11b(low)/IL-18Rα(low)), which are different from mature conventional NK (cNK) cells (B220(low)/CD11b(high)/IL-18Rα(high)). IL-4 overexpression induces proliferation of tissue-resident macrophages, which contributes to NK cell proliferation via production of IL-15. These IL-4-induced NK cells (IL4-NK cells) produce higher levels of IFN-γ, IL-10, and GM-CSF, and exhibit high cytotoxicity compared with cNK cells. Furthermore, incubation of cNK cells with IL-15 and IL-4 alters their phenotype to that similar to IL4-NK cells. Finally, parasitic infection, which typically causes strong Th2-type responses, induces the development of NK cells with characteristics similar to IL4-NK cells. These IL4-NK-like cells do not develop in IL-4Rα KO mice by parasitic infection. Collectively, these results suggest a novel role of IL-4 in immune responses through the induction of the unique NK cells.

KEYWORDS:

IL-15; IL-4; macrophage; natural killer cell

PMID:
27551096
PMCID:
PMC5018748
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1600112113
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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