A human natural killer cell subset provides an innate source of IL-22 for mucosal immunity.

Nature 2009 Feb 2;457(7230):722-5. Epub 2008 Nov 2.

Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.

Natural killer (NK) cells are classically viewed as lymphocytes that provide innate surveillance against virally infected cells and tumour cells through the release of cytolytic mediators and interferon (IFN)-gamma. In humans, blood CD56(dim) NK cells specialize in the lysis of cell targets. In the lymph nodes, CD56(bright) NK cells secrete IFN-gamma cooperating with dendritic cells and T cells in the generation of adaptive responses. Here we report the characterization of a human NK cell subset located in mucosa-associated lymphoid tissues, such as tonsils and Peyer's patches, which is hard-wired to secrete interleukin (IL)-22, IL-26 and leukaemia inhibitory factor. These NK cells, which we refer to as NK-22 cells, are triggered by acute exposure to IL-23. In vitro, NK-22-secreted cytokines stimulate epithelial cells to secrete IL-10, proliferate and express a variety of mitogenic and anti-apoptotic molecules. NK-22 cells are also found in mouse mucosa-associated lymphoid tissues and appear in the small intestine lamina propria during bacterial infection, suggesting that NK-22 cells provide an innate source of IL-22 that may help constrain inflammation and protect mucosal sites.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature07537DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3772687PMC
February 2009
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