Publications by authors named "John R Ortaldo"

30 Publications

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Prenatal Allospecific NK Cell Tolerance Hinges on Instructive Allorecognition through the Activating Receptor during Development.

J Immunol 2015 Aug 1;195(4):1506-16. Epub 2015 Jul 1.

Department of Surgery, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH 45229;

Little is known about how the prenatal interaction between NK cells and alloantigens shapes the developing NK cell repertoire toward tolerance or immunity. Specifically, the effect on NK cell education arising from developmental corecognition of alloantigens by activating and inhibitory receptors with shared specificity is uncharacterized. Using a murine prenatal transplantation model, we examined the manner in which this seemingly conflicting input affects NK cell licensing and repertoire formation in mixed hematopoietic chimeras. We found that prenatal NK cell tolerance arose from the elimination of phenotypically hostile NK cells that express an allospecific activating receptor without coexpressing any allospecific inhibitory receptors. Importantly, the checkpoint for the system appeared to occur centrally within the bone marrow during the final stage of NK cell maturation and hinged on the instructive recognition of allogeneic ligand by the activating receptor rather than through the inhibitory receptor as classically proposed. Residual nondeleted hostile NK cells expressing only the activating receptor exhibited an immature, anergic phenotype, but retained the capacity to upregulate inhibitory receptor expression in peripheral sites. However, the potential for this adaptive change to occur was lost in developmentally mature chimeras. Collectively, these findings illuminate the intrinsic process in which developmental allorecognition through the activating receptor regulates the emergence of durable NK cell tolerance and establishes a new paradigm to fundamentally guide future investigations of prenatal NK cell-allospecific education.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1500463DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4574102PMC
August 2015

Natural killer activity: early days, advances, and seminal observations.

Crit Rev Oncog 2014 ;19(1-2):1-13

Offlce of the Director, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health.

This manuscript describes the early history of NK cell discovery, with emphasis on the events in the first decade of NK cell studies, 1972-1982. The authors highlight some of the earliest and most important observations that would later prove to be milestones in the study of NK cells and their activity.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4272325PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1615/critrevoncog.2014011125DOI Listing
September 2014

IFN-gamma AU-rich element removal promotes chronic IFN-gamma expression and autoimmunity in mice.

J Autoimmun 2014 Sep 28;53:33-45. Epub 2014 Feb 28.

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Cancer and Inflammation Program, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, MD 21702, USA. Electronic address:

We generated a mouse model with a 162 nt AU-rich element (ARE) region deletion in the 3' untranslated region (3'UTR) of the interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) gene that results in chronic circulating serum IFN-γ levels. Mice homozygous for the ARE deletion (ARE-Del) (-/-) present both serologic and cellular abnormalities typical of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). ARE-Del(-/-) mice display increased numbers of pDCs in bone marrow and spleen. Addition of IFN-γ to Flt3-ligand (Flt3L) treated in vitro bone marrow cultures results in a 2-fold increase in pDCs with concurrent increases in IRF8 expression. Marginal zone B (MZB) cells and marginal zone macrophages (MZMs) are absent in ARE-Del(-/-) mice. ARE-Del(+/-) mice retain both MZB cells and MZMs and develop no or mild autoimmunity. However, low dose clodronate treatment in ARE-Del(+/-) mice specifically eliminates MZMs and promotes anti-DNA antibody development and glomerulonephritis. Our findings demonstrate the consequences of a chronic IFN-γ milieu on B220(+) cell types and in particular the impact of MZB cell loss on MZM function in autoimmunity. Furthermore, similarities between disease states in ARE-Del(-/-) mice and SLE patients suggest that IFN-γ may not only be a product of SLE but may be critical for disease onset and progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaut.2014.02.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4148478PMC
September 2014

Systemic IL-12 administration alters hepatic dendritic cell stimulation capabilities.

PLoS One 2012 13;7(3):e33303. Epub 2012 Mar 13.

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Cancer and Inflammation Program, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, Maryland, United States of America.

The liver is an immunologically unique organ containing tolerogenic dendritic cells (DC) that maintain an immunosuppressive microenvironment. Although systemic IL-12 administration can improve responses to tumors, the effects of IL-12-based treatments on DC, in particular hepatic DC, remain incompletely understood. In this study, we demonstrate systemic IL-12 administration induces a 2-3 fold increase in conventional, but not plasmacytoid, DC subsets in the liver. Following IL-12 administration, hepatic DC became more phenotypically and functionally mature, resembling the function of splenic DC, but differed as compared to their splenic counterparts in the production of IL-12 following co-stimulation with toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists. Hepatic DCs from IL-12 treated mice acquired enhanced T cell proliferative capabilities similar to levels observed using splenic DCs. Furthermore, IL-12 administration preferentially increased hepatic T cell activation and IFNγ expression in the RENCA mouse model of renal cell carcinoma. Collectively, the data shows systemic IL-12 administration enables hepatic DCs to overcome at least some aspects of the inherently suppressive milieu of the hepatic environment that could have important implications for the design of IL-12-based immunotherapeutic strategies targeting hepatic malignancies and infections.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0033303PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3302816PMC
August 2012

Hydrodynamic delivery of human IL-15 cDNA increases murine natural killer cell recovery after syngeneic bone marrow transplantation.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2011 Dec 8;17(12):1754-64. Epub 2011 Sep 8.

University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Reno, Nevada, USA.

Immune deficiency immediately following bone marrow transplantation (BMT) increases susceptibility to opportunistic infections as well as tumor relapse. Natural Killer (NK) cells play important roles in the resistance to virally infected and transformed cells. Interleukin (IL)-15 has been shown to be essential for NK cell development and survival. We administered human (h) IL-15 cDNA (pIL-15) via hydrodynamic delivery to murine recipients undergoing congenic BMT to determine its effects on NK cell reconstitution. Hydrodynamic pIL-15 delivery resulted in high levels of hIL-15 protein in the serum that lasted for several days and then quickly declined. The appearance of hIL-15 was followed by a significant increase of mature donor-derived NK cells within the bone marrow, spleens, and livers of the treated recipients. No accumulation of immature NK cell progenitors was observed. The NK cells from IL-15-treated recipients displayed an activated phenotype and were lytically active toward tumor targets in vitro to a similar degree as did those cells from recipients treated with control plasmid. This suggests that the predominant effect of IL-15 was a quantitative increase in total NK cell numbers and not qualitative changes in NK cell functions. No toxicities or adverse effects were observed. Studies performed in transplanted mice bearing renal carcinoma tumors demonstrated that this mode of hIL-15 gene delivery resulted in increased antitumor responses. These results support the use of cytokine gene transfer-based regimens as a platform to augment NK cell recovery after BMT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2011.08.023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3506429PMC
December 2011

mTOR kinase inhibitor AZD8055 enhances the immunotherapeutic activity of an agonist CD40 antibody in cancer treatment.

Cancer Res 2011 Jun 3;71(12):4074-84. Epub 2011 May 3.

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Cancer and Inflammation Program, Center for Cancer Research, NCI-Frederick, Frederick, Maryland 21702-1201, USA.

mTOR is a central mediator of cancer cell growth, but it also directs immune cell differentiation and function. On this basis, we had explored the hypothesis that mTOR inhibition can enhance cancer immunotherapy. Here, we report that a combination of αCD40 agonistic antibody and the ATP-competitive mTOR kinase inhibitory drug AZD8055 elicited synergistic antitumor responses in a model of metastatic renal cell carcinoma. In contrast to the well-established mTOR inhibitor rapamycin, AZD8055 increased the infiltration, activation, and proliferation of CD8(+) T cells and natural killer cells in liver metastatic foci when combined with the CD40 agonist. AZD8055/αCD40-treated mice also display an increased incidence of matured macrophages and dendritic cells compared with that achieved in mice by αCD40 or AZD8055 treatment alone. We found that the combination treatment also increased macrophage production of TNFα, which played an indispensable role in activation of the observed antitumor immune response. Levels of Th1 cytokines, including interleukin 12, IFN-γ, TNFα, and the Th1-associated chemokines RANTES, MIG, and IP-10 were each elevated significantly in the livers of mice treated with the combinatorial therapy versus individual treatments. Notably, the AZD8055/αCD40-induced antitumor response was abolished in IFN-γ(-/-) and CD40(-/-) mice, establishing the reliance of the combination therapy on host IFN-γ and CD40 expression. Our findings offer a preclinical proof of concept that, unlike rapamycin, the ATP-competitive mTOR kinase inhibitor AZD8055 can contribute with αCD40 treatment to trigger a restructuring of the tumor immune microenvironment to trigger regressions of an established metastatic cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-3968DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3116937PMC
June 2011

TCR-dependent and -independent activation underlie liver-specific regulation of NKT cells.

J Immunol 2011 Jan 10;186(2):838-47. Epub 2010 Dec 10.

Cancer and Inflammation Program, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

The fate of invariant NKT (iNKT) cells following activation remains controversial and unclear. We systemically examined how iNKT cells are regulated following TCR-dependent and -independent activation with α-galactosylceramide (αGC) or IL-18 plus IL-12, respectively. Our studies reveal activation by αGC or IL-18 plus IL-12 induced transient depletion of iNKT cells exclusively in the liver that was independent of caspase 3-mediated apoptosis. The loss of iNKT cells was followed by repopulation and expansion of phenotypically distinct cells via different mechanisms. Liver iNKT cell expansion following αGC, but not IL-18 plus IL-12, treatment required an intact spleen and IFN-γ. Additionally, IL-18 plus IL-12 induced a more prolonged expansion of liver iNKT cells compared with αGC. iNKT cells that repopulate the liver following αGC had higher levels of suppressive receptors PD-1 and Lag3, whereas those that repopulate the liver following IL-18 plus IL-12 had increased levels of TCR and ICOS. In contrast to acute treatment that caused a transient loss of iNKT cells, chronic αGC or IL-18 plus IL-12 treatment caused long-term systemic loss requiring an intact thymus for repopulation of the liver. This report reveals a previously undefined role for the liver in the depletion of activated iNKT cells. Additionally, TCR-dependent and -independent activation differentially regulate iNKT cell distribution and phenotype. These results provide new insights for understanding how iNKT cells are systemically regulated following activation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1001735DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3725575PMC
January 2011

In vivo regulation of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by NK cells: alteration of primary adaptive responses.

J Immunol 2008 Apr;180(7):4495-506

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Cancer and Inflammation Program, National Cancer Institute-Center for Cancer Research, SAIC-Frederick, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

Innate immune responses provide the host with its first line of defense against infections. Signals generated by subsets of lymphocytes, including NK cells, NKT cells, and APC during this early host response determine the nature of downstream adaptive immune responses. In the present study, we have examined the role of innate NK cells in an autoimmune model through the use of primary immunization with the myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide to induce experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Our studies have shown that in vivo depletion of NK cells can affect the adaptive immune responses, because NK cells were found to regulate the degree of clinical paralysis and to alter immune adaptive responses to the myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide. The requirement for NK cells was reflected by changes in the T cell responses and diminished clinical disease seen in mice treated with anti-NK1.1, anti-asialo GM1, and selected Ly49 subtype-depleted mice. In addition to alteration in T cell responses, the maturational status of dendritic cells in lymph nodes was altered both quantitatively and qualitatively. Finally, examination of TCR Vbeta usage of the brain lymphocytes from EAE mice indicated a spectra-type change in receptor expression in NK- depleted mice as compared with non-NK-depleted EAE mice. These findings further establish a recently postulated link between NK cells and the generation of autoreactive T cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.180.7.4495DOI Listing
April 2008

Modulation of lymphocyte function with inhibitory CD2: loss of NK and NKT cells.

Cell Immunol 2007 Sep 26;249(1):8-19. Epub 2007 Nov 26.

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Cancer and Inflammation Program, NCI-CCR, 560/31-93, Frederick, MD 21702-1201, USA.

Analysis of the NK cell developmental pathway suggests that CD2 expression may be important in regulating NK maturation. To test this hypothesis, we developed mice containing only an inhibitory CD2 molecule by linking the extracellular domain of CD2 to an intracellular immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif (ITIM) motif. Mice containing the CD2 Tg(ITIM) transgene, introduced into a CD2 KO background, have no morphologically detectable lymph nodes, although development of the thymus appears normal. In addition, these mice had major loss of both NK and NKT subsets in peripheral organs, while T and B cell frequencies were intact. Expression of CD2 was low on T cells and lacking on B cells and functional defects were observed in these populations. NKT cells expressing CD4 were absent, while the CD8+ and double negative NKT cells were retained. Small subsets of NK cells were detected but expression of CD2 on these cells was very low or absent, and their maturation was impaired. Based on the phenotype described here, we believe that these mice represent a unique model to study lymphoid organ and lymphocyte development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cellimm.2007.10.001DOI Listing
September 2007

Enhanced antitumor response by divergent modulation of natural killer and natural killer T cells in the liver.

Cancer Res 2006 Nov;66(22):11005-12

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Science Applications International Corporation-Frederick, National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research, Frederick, Maryland, USA.

The use of interleukin-18 (IL-18) together with IL-12 induced high levels of IFN-gamma in tumor-bearing mice and regression of liver tumors that was abolished in IFN-gamma((-/-)) mice. Natural killer (NK) and NKT cells were the major producers of IFN-gamma in the livers of mice treated with IL-18 and/or IL-12. Liver NK cells were significantly increased by treatment with IL-18/IL-12, whereas the degree of liver NKT cell TCR detection was diminished by this treatment. Reduction of NK cells with anti-asGM1 decreased the antitumor activity of IL-18/IL-12 therapy and revealed NK cells to be an important component for tumor regression in the liver. In contrast, the antitumor effects of both IL-18 and IL-12 were further increased in CD1d((-/-)) mice, which lack NKT cells. Our data, therefore, show that the antitumor activity induced in mice by IL-18/IL-12 is NK and IFN-gamma dependent and is able to overcome an endogenous immunosuppressive effect of NKT cells in the liver microenvironment. These results suggest that immunotherapeutic approaches that enhance NK cell function while eliminating or altering NKT cells could be effective in the treatment of cancer in the liver.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-06-0811DOI Listing
November 2006

NK cells use NKG2D to recognize a mouse renal cancer (Renca), yet require intercellular adhesion molecule-1 expression on the tumor cells for optimal perforin-dependent effector function.

J Immunol 2006 Aug;177(4):2575-83

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, Building 560, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

The NKG2D receptor on NK cells can recognize a variety of ligands on the tumor cell surface. Using a mouse renal cancer (Renca), we show that NKG2D recognition by NK cells was crucial for their ability to limit tumor metastases in vivo in both liver and lungs using perforin-dependent effector mechanisms. However, for the R331 cell line established from Renca, NKG2D recognition and perforin-dependent lysis played no role in controlling liver metastases. R331 cells were also more resistant to perforin-dependent lysis by NK cells in vitro. We therefore used these phenotypic differences between Renca and R331 to further investigate the crucial receptor:ligand interactions required for triggering lytic effector functions of NK cells. Reconstitution of R331 cells with ICAM-1, but not Rae-1gamma, restored NKG2D-mediated, perforin-dependent lysis. Interestingly, R331 cells were efficiently lysed by NK cells using death ligand-mediated apoptosis. This death ligand-mediated killing did not depend on NKG2D recognition of its ligands on tumor cells. This result suggests that the intracellular signaling in NK cells required for perforin and death ligand-mediated lysis of tumor target cell are quite distinct, and activation of both of these antitumor lytic effector functions of NK cells could improve therapeutic benefits for certain tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.177.4.2575DOI Listing
August 2006

Glucocorticoid amplifies IL-2-dependent expansion of functional FoxP3(+)CD4(+)CD25(+) T regulatory cells in vivo and enhances their capacity to suppress EAE.

Eur J Immunol 2006 Aug;36(8):2139-49

Basic Research Program, SAIC-Frederick, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

IL-2 is crucial for the production of CD4(+)CD25(+) T regulatory (Treg) cells while important for the generation of effective T cell-mediated immunity. How to exploit the capacity of IL-2 to expand Treg cells, while restraining activation of T effector (Teff) cells, is an important and unanswered therapeutic question. Dexamethasone (Dex), a synthetic glucocorticoid steroid, has been reported to suppress IL-2-mediated activation of Teff cells and increase the proportion of Treg cells. Thus, we hypothesized that glucocorticoids may be useful as costimulants to amplify IL-2-mediated selective expansion of Treg cells. We show in this study that short-term simultaneous administration of Dex and IL-2 markedly expanded functional suppressive Foxp3(+)CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells in murine peripheral lymphoid tissues. In a myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse model, we observed that splenic CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells failed to suppress the proliferation of CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells. Pretreatment with Dex/IL-2 remarkably increased the proportion of CD4(+)FoxP3(+) cells and partially restored the function of splenic CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells, and inhibited the development of EAE. Therefore, the combination of glucocorticoid and IL-2, two currently used therapeutics, may provide a novel approach for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, transplant rejection and graft-vs.-host disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eji.200635873DOI Listing
August 2006

IL-18 as critical co-stimulatory molecules in modulating the immune response of ITAM bearing lymphocytes.

Semin Immunol 2006 Jun 5;18(3):193-6. Epub 2006 May 5.

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, Center for Cancer Research, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

NK cells responses are controlled by inhibitory and activating cell surface receptors. Inhibitory receptors serve to moderate NK activity by dampening cytokine release and cytotoxicity if activating ligands are also triggered by interaction with their receptors on the NK cells. This dampening effect is critical to prevent wide scale self destruction. These studies have focused on cytokine signaling in the context of an environment where ITAM bearing receptors are triggered on NK, NKT and T cells. Our findings indicate that cytokines are an important co-stimulatory signal that is needed to maximize the host innate immune response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.smim.2006.03.014DOI Listing
June 2006

Pertussis toxin as an adjuvant suppresses the number and function of CD4+CD25+ T regulatory cells.

Eur J Immunol 2006 Mar;36(3):671-80

Basic Research Program, SAIC-Frederick, Inc., Laboratory of Molecular Immunoregulation, National Cancer Institute-Frederick. Frederick, MD 21702-1201, USA.

We observed a remarkable reduction in the frequency and immunosuppressive activity of splenic CD4+CD25+ T cells in C57BL/6 mice with MOG33-55-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Our study revealed that pertussis toxin (PTx), one component of the immunogen used to induce murine EAE, was responsible for down-regulating splenic CD4+CD25+ cells. Treatment of normal BALB/c mice with PTx in vivo reduced the frequency, suppressive activity and FoxP3 expression by splenic CD4+CD25+ T cells. However, PTx treatment did not alter the expression of characteristic phenotypic markers (CD45RB, CD103, GITR and CTLA-4) and did not increase the expression of CD44 and CD69 by the residual splenic and lymph node CD4+CD25+ T cells. This property of PTx was attributable to its ADP-ribosyltransferase activity. PTx did not inhibit suppressive activity of purified CD4+CD25+ T regulatory (Treg) cells in vitro, but did so in vivo, presumably due to an indirect effect. Although the exact molecular target of PTx that reduces Treg activity remains to be defined, our data suggests that alteration of both distribution and function of splenic immunocytes should play a role. This study concludes that an underlying cause for the immunological adjuvanticity of PTx is down-regulation of Treg cell number and function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eji.200535353DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3153960PMC
March 2006

Regulation of ITAM-positive receptors: role of IL-12 and IL-18.

Blood 2006 Feb 25;107(4):1468-75. Epub 2005 Oct 25.

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology and Pediatric Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute-Center for Cancer Research, Frederick, MD 21702-1201, USA.

Our previous studies have identified mechanisms by which cytokine production, blocked by Ly49G2 receptor cross-linking, can be overridden. In this study we analyzed the regulation of other ITAM-positive receptor signaling on NK, NKT, and T cells and characterized the biochemical pathways involved in this signaling. Our studies demonstrate that cross-linking of NKG2D and NK1.1 results in a synergistic NK IFN-gamma response when combined with IL-12 or IL-18. Examination of NKT- and T-cell responses demonstrated that cross-linking of NKG2D and CD3 resulted in potent synergy when combined with IL-12 and, to a lesser degree, with IL-18. We have now found that both the p38 MAP kinase and the ERK-dependent signal transduction pathways are required for the synergistic response. Further mechanistic examination of the synergy indicated a potent up-regulation of total IFN-gamma mRNA in the nuclear and the cytoplasmic compartment, but mRNA half-life was not affected. Fifteen minutes of IL-12 pretreatment was sufficient to result in maximal synergistic activation, indicating that the response of the cells to the IL-12 signal was rapid and immediate. Thus, our data demonstrate that multiple convergent signals maximize the innate immune response by triggering complementary biochemical signaling pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2005-04-1579DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1895416PMC
February 2006

In vivo hydrodynamic delivery of cDNA encoding IL-2: rapid, sustained redistribution, activation of mouse NK cells, and therapeutic potential in the absence of NKT cells.

J Immunol 2005 Jul;175(2):693-9

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, National Cancer Institute-Center for Cancer Research, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

In the present study, we have tested the ability of hydrodynamically delivered IL-2 cDNA to modulate the number and function of murine leukocyte subsets in different organs and in mice of different genetic backgrounds, and we have evaluated effects of this mode of gene delivery on established murine tumor metastases. Hydrodynamic administration of the IL-2 gene resulted in the rapid and transient production of up to 160 ng/ml IL-2 in the serum. The appearance of IL-2 was followed by transient production of IFN-gamma and a dramatic and sustained increase in NK cell numbers and NK-mediated cytolytic activity in liver and spleen leukocytes. In addition, significant increases in other lymphocyte subpopulations (e.g., NKT, T, and B cells) that are known to be responsive to IL-2 were observed following IL-2 cDNA plasmid delivery. Finally, hydrodynamic delivery of only 4 mug of the IL-2 plasmid to mice bearing established lung and liver metastases was as effective in inhibiting progression of metastases as was the administration of large amounts (100,000 IU/twice daily) of IL-2 protein. Studies performed in mice bearing metastatic renal cell tumors demonstrated that the IL-2 cDNA plasmid was an effective treatment against liver metastasis and moderately effective against lung metastasis. Collectively, these results demonstrate that hydrodynamic delivery of relatively small amounts of IL-2 cDNA provides a simple and inexpensive method to increase the numbers of NK and NKT cells, to induce the biological effects of IL-2 in vivo for use in combination with other biological agents, and for studies of its antitumor activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.175.2.693DOI Listing
July 2005

Rapid conversion of effector mechanisms from NK to T cells during virus-induced lysis of allogeneic implants in vivo.

J Immunol 2005 Jun;174(11):6663-71

Department of Pathology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, 01655, USA.

Viral infections can strongly stimulate both NK cell and allospecific CD8 T cell responses, and these same effector cells can lyse allogeneic cell lines in vitro. However, the impact of viral infections on the effector systems mediating rejection of allogeneic tissues in vivo has not been fully explored. Using in vivo cytotoxicity assays, we evaluated the effector systems mediating the rejection of CFSE-labeled allogeneic splenocytes after an infection of C57BL/6 (B6) mice with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. Naive B6 mice predominantly used a NK cell-effector mechanism to reject allogeneic splenocytes because they rejected BALB/C (H2(d)) splenocytes but not CBA (H2(k)) splenocytes, and the rejection was prevented by immunodepletion of NK1.1(+) or Ly49D(+) NK cells. This rapid and efficient in vivo cytotoxicity assay recapitulated the specificity of NK cell-mediated rejection seen in longer duration in vivo assays. However, as early as 1 day after infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, a CD8 T cell-dependent mechanism participated in the rejection process and a broader range of tissue haplotypes (e.g., H2(k)) was susceptible. The CD8 T cell-mediated in vivo rejection process was vigorous at a time postinfection (day 3) when NK cell effector functions are peaking, indicating that the effector systems used in vivo differed from those observed with in vitro assays measuring the killing of allogeneic cells. This rapid generation of allospecific CTL activity during a viral infection preceded the peak of viral epitope-specific T cell responses, as detected by in vivo or in vitro cytotoxicity assays.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.174.11.6663DOI Listing
June 2005

Mouse Ly49 NK receptors: balancing activation and inhibition.

Mol Immunol 2005 Feb;42(4):445-50

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, National Cancer Institute-Center for Cancer Research, 560/31-93, Frederick, MD 21702-1201, USA.

Previous studies from numerous laboratories have demonstrated that inhibitory class I binding NK receptors dominate functional interactions in vitro. Our previous studies have shown that in addition to lysis, a major consequence of triggering the murine activating NK receptor Ly49D is the expression of cytokines and chemokines. We have recently shown that the activating Ly49D murine NK cell receptor can potently synergize during co-stimulation with IL-12 and IL-18 for selective production of IFN-gamma. Activation both in vitro and in vivo and synergistic production of IFN-gamma by Ly49D expressing NK cells results from cytokine stimulation combined with co-receptor ligation. In addition, IL-12 is capable of overriding the inhibitory receptor blockade for cytokine production, both in vitro and in vivo. Our current studies will expand this finding of IL-12 synergy to other receptors in the NK repertoire and evaluate potential biochemical mechanisms involved in this synergy. These findings place NK cells and their activating Ly49 receptors as important initiators of microbial, antiviral and anti-tumor immunity and provide a mechanism for the release of activating Ly49 receptors from an inhibitory receptor blockade. Discussion of how activation of the innate immune system provides important initiators of adaptive immune responses by receptor cross-linking and cytokine co-receptor engagement will ensue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molimm.2004.07.024DOI Listing
February 2005

Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma and its ligands attenuate biologic functions of human natural killer cells.

Blood 2004 Nov 20;104(10):3276-84. Epub 2004 Jul 20.

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Center for Cancer Reseach, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, MD 21702-1201, USA.

Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) production and cytolytic activity are 2 major biologic functions of natural killer (NK) cells that are important for innate immunity. We demonstrate here that these functions are compromised in human NK cells treated with peroxisome proliferator-activated-gamma (PPAR-gamma) ligands via both PPAR-gamma-dependent and -independent pathways due to variation in PPAR-gamma expression. In PPAR-gamma-null NK cells, 15-deoxy-Delta(12,14) prostaglandin J(2) (15d-PGJ(2)), a natural PPAR-gamma ligand, reduces IFN-gamma production that can be reversed by MG132 and/or chloroquine, and it inhibits cytolytic activity of NK cells through reduction of both conjugate formation and CD69 expression. In PPARgamma-positive NK cells, PPAR-gamma activation by 15d-PGJ(2) and ciglitazone (a synthetic ligand) leads to reduction in both mRNA and protein levels of IFN-gamma. Overexpression of PPAR-gamma in PPAR-gamma-null NK cells reduces IFN-gamma gene expression. However, PPAR-gamma expression and activation has no effect on NK cell cytolytic activity. In addition, 15d-PGJ(2) but not ciglitazone reduces expression of CD69 in human NK cells, whereas CD44 expression is not affected. These results reveal novel pathways regulating NK cell biologic functions and provide a basis for the design of therapeutic agents that can regulate the function of NK cells within the innate immune response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2004-02-0664DOI Listing
November 2004

Aging of innate immunity: functional comparisons of NK/LAK cells obtained from bulk cultures of young and aged mouse spleen cells in high concentrations of interleukin-2.

Exp Gerontol 2004 Jan;39(1):73-82

Department of Microbiology and Tropical Medicine, George Washington University, School of Medicine, 2300 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA.

The technique of bulk cultivation of aged mouse spleen cells in high concentration of IL-2 was employed to obtain NK/LAK cells in sufficient number and enrichment for studies on the effects of aging on their functions. The yield and enrichment were equivalent to that of young mouse spleen cells. The aged and young mouse NK/LAK cells were equivalent also in their functional competence to proliferate, kill target cells and produce IFNgamma; i.e. they did not display age-associated defects typical of freshly-isolated NK/LAK cells. In two respects, however, the NK/LAK cells derived from aged mouse spleen were altered: (a) in the efficiency of nuclear translocation of transcription factors STAT 5A and 5B, and (b) in the deficiency in production of mRNA transcripts representing several chemokines. We recommend caution in the use of bulk cultivation in IL-2 to obtain NK/LAK cells for studies on aging. However, it does appear from this study that aging may severely affect chemokine production, at least in the case of NK/LAK cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2003.09.017DOI Listing
January 2004

Dissociation of NKT stimulation, cytokine induction, and NK activation in vivo by the use of distinct TCR-binding ceramides.

J Immunol 2004 Jan;172(2):943-53

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, National Cancer Institute-Center for Cancer Research, Building 560, Room 31-93, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

NKT and NK cells are important immune regulatory cells. The only efficient means to selectively stimulate NKT cells in vivo is alpha-galactosylceramide (alphaGalCer). However, alphaGalCer effectively stimulates and then diminishes the number of detectable NKT cells. It also exhibits a potent, indirect ability to activate NK cells. We have now discovered another ceramide compound, beta-galactosylceramide (betaGalCer) (C12), that efficiently diminishes the number of detectable mouse NKT cells in vivo without inducing significant cytokine expression or activation of NK cells. Binding studies using CD1d tetramers loaded with betaGalCer (C12) demonstrated significant but lower intensity binding to NKT cells when compared with alphaGalCer, but both ceramides were equally efficient in reducing the number of NKT cells. However, betaGalCer (C12), in contrast to alphaGalCer, failed to increase NK cell size, number, and cytolytic activity. Also in contrast to alphaGalCer, betaGalCer (C12) is a poor inducer of IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, GM-CSF, and IL-4 gene expression. These qualitative differences in NKT perturbation/NK activation have important implications for delineating the unique in vivo roles of NKT vs NK cells. Thus, alphaGalCer (which triggers NKT cells and activates NK cells) efficiently increases the resistance to allogeneic bone marrow transplantation while betaGalCer (C12) (which triggers NKT cells but does not activate NK cells) fails to enhance bone marrow graft rejection. Our results show betaGalCer (C12) can effectively discriminate between NKT- and NK-mediated responses in vivo. These results indicate the use of different TCR-binding ceramides can provide a unique approach for understanding the intricate immunoregulatory contributions of these two cell types.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.172.2.943DOI Listing
January 2004

Receptor glycosylation regulates Ly-49 binding to MHC class I.

J Immunol 2003 Oct;171(8):4235-42

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Division of Basic Sciences, National Cancer Institute-Clinical Cancer Research, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, MD 21702-1201, USA.

Murine NK cells express the Ly-49 family of class I MHC-binding receptors that control their ability to lyse tumor or virally infected host target cells. X-ray crystallography studies have identified two predominant contact sites (sites 1 and 2) that are involved in the binding of the inhibitory receptor, Ly-49A, to H-2D(d). Ly-49G2 (inhibitory) and Ly-49D (activating) are highly homologous to Ly-49A and also recognize H-2D(d). However, the binding of Ly-49D and G(2) to H-2D(d) is of lower affinity than Ly-49A. All Ly-49s contain N-glycosylation motifs; however, the importance of receptor glycosylation in Ly-49-class I interactions has not been determined. Ly-49D and G(2) contain a glycosylation motif (NTT (221-223)), absent in Ly-49A, adjacent to one of the proposed binding sites for H-2D(d) (site 2). The presence of a complex carbohydrate group at this critical site could interfere with class I binding. In this study, we are able to demonstrate for the first time that Ly-49D binds H-2D(d) in the presence of mouse beta(2)-microglobulin. We also demonstrate that glycosylation of the NTT (221-23) motif of Ly-49D inteferes with recognition of H-2D(d). Alteration of the Ly-49D-NTT (221-23) motif to abolish glycosylation at this site resulted in enhanced H-2D(d) binding and receptor activation. Furthermore, glycosylation of Ly-49G2 at NTT (221-23) also reduces receptor binding to H-2D(d) tetramers. Therefore, the addition of complex carbohydrates to the Ly-49 family of receptors may represent a mechanism by which NK cells regulate affinity for host class I ligands.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.171.8.4235DOI Listing
October 2003

NK-cell purging of leukemia: superior antitumor effects of NK cells H2 allogeneic to the tumor and augmentation with inhibitory receptor blockade.

Blood 2003 Dec 31;102(12):4067-75. Epub 2003 Jul 31.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Applied Research Facility, Bldg 344/MS 199, Reno, NV 89557, USA.

Natural killer (NK) cells are composed of subsets characterized by the expression of inhibitory or activating receptors, or both, specific for different major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I determinants. We have previously shown that inhibitory receptor blockade of syngeneic NK cells was an effective means of ex vivo purging of leukemia-contaminated bone marrow and that the transplantation of mice with the purged bone marrow cells (BMCs) resulted in long-term, relapse-free survival. We have extended the investigation to assess the antitumor effects mediated by NK cells H2-allogeneic to tumor cells. We demonstrate that various tumor cell lines are more susceptible to lysis by H2-allogeneic NK cells than by syngeneic NK cells in vitro even though comparable percentages of Ly49 NK cells were present. Using allogeneic NK cells to purge leukemia-contaminating BMCs before transplantation resulted in a higher proportion of mice with long-term survival than using syngeneic NK cells. Allogeneic NK cells did not suppress hematopoietic reconstitution as measured by granulocyte/monocyte-colony-forming unit (CFU-GM), complete blood count (CBC), and donor chimerism at various days after transplantation. Inhibitory receptor blockade of allogeneic NK cells also significantly increased these antitumor effects at lower NK/tumor ratios compared with those of syngeneic NK cells. These results demonstrate that H2-allogeneic NK cells mediate more potent antitumor effects than syngeneic NK cells without adverse hematologic effects and thus may be useful in cancer therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2003-04-1367DOI Listing
December 2003

Expression of IFN-gamma upon triggering of activating Ly49D NK receptors in vitro and in vivo: costimulation with IL-12 or IL-18 overrides inhibitory receptors.

J Immunol 2003 Feb;170(4):1763-9

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, National Cancer Institute-Center for Cancer Research, B-560, Room 31-93, Frederick, MD 21702-1201, USA. gov

NK cells can express both activating and inhibitory Ly49 receptors on their cell surface. When cells expressing both receptors are presented with a ligand, inhibition dominates the functional outcome. In this report we demonstrate that costimulation of the activating Ly49D murine NK cell receptor with IL-12 or IL-18 is capable of over-riding the inhibitory Ly49G2 receptor blockade for cytokine production both in vitro and in vivo. This synergy is mediated by and dependent upon Ly49D-expressing NK cells and results in significant systemic expression of IFN-gamma. This would place NK cells and their activating Ly-49 receptors as important initiators of microbial, antiviral, and antitumor immunity and provide a mechanism for the release of activating Ly49 receptors from inhibitory receptor blockade.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.170.4.1763DOI Listing
February 2003

Increased bone marrow allograft rejection by depletion of NK cells expressing inhibitory Ly49 NK receptors for donor class I antigens.

Blood 2002 Oct;100(8):3026-33

Intramural Research Support Program, SAIC-Frederick and Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

Natural killer (NK) cells are the major effectors of acute rejection of incompatible bone marrow cell (BMC) grafts in lethally irradiated mice. The immunogenetics of BMC rejection are largely controlled by the coexpression (or not) of inhibitory and stimulatory Ly49 receptors whose ligands are class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. The majority of the BMC rejection studies involved low numbers of BMCs that were resisted by host NK cells. In the present study, larger numbers of BMCs were given in which rejection was not detected and the role of different Ly49 NK subsets not presumably involved in the rejection of a particular BMC haplotype was examined. Surprisingly, the data show that the removal of NK cell subsets expressing Ly49 inhibitory receptors for donor class I antigens, which would be predicted to have no effect on the BMC rejection capability, resulted in the marked rejection of BMCs where no resistance was normally seen. These results extend the "missing self" hypothesis to suggest that NK Ly49 inhibitory receptors can both inhibit activation and killing by those cells, but also can in some way influence the function of NK cells that do not express that inhibitory receptor in a cell-cell interaction. This suggests that caution must be exercised before removal of host NK cell subset is applied clinically because enhanced BMC rejection may result. Altering the balance of Ly49 NK subsets may also affect other in vivo activities of these cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.V100.8.3026DOI Listing
October 2002

Aberrant DAP12 signaling in the 129 strain of mice: implications for the analysis of gene-targeted mice.

J Immunol 2002 Aug;169(4):1721-8

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

NK cells are implicated in antiviral responses, bone marrow transplantation and tumor immunosurveillance. Their function is controlled, in part, through the Ly49 family of class I binding receptors. Inhibitory Ly49s suppress signaling, while activating Ly49s (i.e., Ly49D) activate NK cells via the DAP12 signaling chain. Activating Ly49 signaling has been studied primarily in C57BL/6 mice, however, 129 substrains are commonly used in gene-targeting experiments. In this study, we show that in contrast to C57BL/6 NK cells, cross-linking of DAP12-coupled receptors in 129/J mice induces phosphorylation of DAP12 but not calcium mobilization or cytokine production. Consistent with poor-activating Ly49 function, 129/J mice reject bone marrow less efficiently than C57BL/6 mice. Sequence analysis of receptors and DAP12 suggests no structural basis for inactivity, and both the 129/J and C57BL/6 receptors demonstrate normal function in a reconstituted receptor system. Most importantly, reconstitution of Ly49D in 129/J NK cells demonstrated that the signaling deficit is within the NK cells themselves. These unexpected findings bring into question any NK analysis of 129/J, 129Sv, or gene-targeted mice derived from these strains before complete backcrossing, and provide a possible explanation for the differences observed in the immune response of 129 mice in a variety of models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.169.4.1721DOI Listing
August 2002

IL-2 and IL-12 alter NK cell responsiveness to IFN-gamma-inducible protein 10 by down-regulating CXCR3 expression.

J Immunol 2002 Jun;168(12):6090-8

Laboratories of. Experimental Immunology and Molecular Immunoregulation, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

Cytokine treatment of NK cells results in alterations in multiple cellular responses that include cytotoxicity, cytokine production, proliferation, and chemotaxis. To understand the molecular mechanisms underlying these responses, microarray analysis was performed and the resulting gene expression patterns were compared between unstimulated, IL-2, IL-2 plus IL-12, and IL-2 plus IL-18-stimulated NK92 cells. RNase protection assays and RT-PCR confirmed microarray predictions for changes in mRNA expression for nine genes involved in cell cycle progression, signal transduction, transcriptional activation, and chemotaxis. Multiprobe RNase protection assay also detected changes in the expression of CCR2 mRNA, a gene that was not imprinted on the microarray. We subsequently expanded our search for other chemokine receptor genes absent from the microarray and found an IL-2- and IL-12-dependent decrease in CXCR3 receptor mRNA expression in NK92 cells. A detailed analysis of CXCR3 expression in primary NK cells revealed that an IL-2 and an IL-12 together significantly decreased the CXCR3 receptor mRNA and receptor surface expression by 6 and 24 h of treatment, respectively. This decrease in receptor expression was associated with a significant reduction in chemotaxis in the presence of IFN-gamma-inducible protein-10. The decline in CXCR3 mRNA was due to transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms as the addition of actinomycin D to IL-2- and IL-12-treated NK92 slightly altered the half-life of the CXCR3 mRNA. Collectively, these data suggest that IL-2 and IL-12 directly affect NK cell migratory ability by rapid and direct down-regulation of chemokine receptor mRNA expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.168.12.6090DOI Listing
June 2002

Natural cytotoxicity uncoupled from the Syk and ZAP-70 intracellular kinases.

Nat Immunol 2002 Mar 11;3(3):288-94. Epub 2002 Feb 11.

Laboratory for Cytokines and Lymphoid Development, The Pasteur Institute, Paris, France.

The intracellular signals that trigger natural cytotoxicity have not been clearly determined. The Syk and ZAP-70 tyrosine kinases are essential for cellular activation initiated by B and T cell antigen receptors and may drive natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity via receptors bearing immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motifs (ITAMs). However, we found that, unlike B and T cells, NK cells developed in Syk-/-ZAP-70-/- mice and, despite their nonfunctional ITAMs, lysed various tumor targets in vitro and eliminated tumor cells in vivo, including those without NKG2D ligands. The simultaneous inhibition of phosphatidyl inositol 3 kinase and Src kinases abrogated the cytolytic activity of Syk-/-ZAP-70-/- NK cells and strongly reduced that of wild-type NK cells. This suggests that distinct and redundant signaling pathways act synergistically to trigger natural cytotoxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ni764DOI Listing
March 2002

Impaired NK cell development in an IFN-gamma transgenic mouse: aberrantly expressed IFN-gamma enhances hematopoietic stem cell apoptosis and affects NK cell differentiation.

J Immunol 2002 Feb;168(4):1746-52

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Center for Cancer Research, and Intramural Research Support Program, Science Applications International Corp.-Frederick, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.

Aberrant expression of IFN-gamma has been demonstrated to cause a wide variety of alterations in cell function and development. Previously we reported that constitutive expression of IFN-gamma in bone marrow (BM) and thymus results in a total absence of B cells and a substantial decrease in the number of hematopoietic progenitor cells. In this study, we demonstrate a severe deficiency of NK1.1(+)CD3(-) cells in this transgenic mouse model. Compared with normal control littermates, we found a pronounced reduction of NK cells in IFN-gamma transgenic mouse spleen and liver despite maintenance of normal function. In addition, we observed a reduced number of BM cells in the IFN-gamma transgenic mouse despite normal expression of hematopoietic growth factors in the BM. Interestingly, these cells were less responsive to stem cell factor (SCF) despite c-kit expression on hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). We observed that addition of exogenous IFN-gamma inhibited proliferation of HSCs and differentiation of NK precursors from HSCs in normal mice in response to SCF, IL-7, fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand, and IL-15. Furthermore, we found that HSCs express the IFN-gammaRalpha subunit and undergo apoptosis in response to exogenous IFN-gamma. Thus, we have demonstrated the occurrence of a severe deficiency of NK cells and lower numbers of BM cells in an IFN-gamma transgenic mouse model. Furthermore, because exogenous IFN-gamma affects the responsiveness to hematopoietic growth factors such as SCF in vitro, our results indicate that chronic expression of IFN-gamma in vivo leads to widespread immune system defects, including alterations in NK cell differentiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.168.4.1746DOI Listing
February 2002