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Human cytomegalovirus infection enhances NK cell activity in vitro


Abstract

BACKGROUND: Occurring frequently after solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, cytomegalovirus (CMV) replication remains a relevant cause of mortality and morbidity in affected patients. Despite these adverse effects, an increased alloreactivity of natural killer (NK) cells after CMV infection has been assumed, but the underlying physiopathological mechanisms have remained elusive.
METHODS: We used serial analyses of NK cells before and after CMV infection in kidney transplant recipients as an in vivo model for CMV primary infection to explore the imprint of CMV infection using every patient as their own control: We analyzed NK cell phenotype and function in 47 CMV seronegative recipients of CMV seropositive kidney grafts, who developed CMV primary infection posttransplant. Seronegative recipients of seronegative kidney grafts served as controls.
RESULTS: We observed a significant increase of NKG2C expressing NK cells after CMV infection (mean increase, 17.5%; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 10.2-24.9, P < 0.001), whereas cluster of differentiation (CD)57 expressing cells decreased (mean decrease, 14.1%; 95% CI, 8.0-20.2; P < 0.001). Analysis of killer immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) expression showed an increase of cells expressing KIR2DL1 as their only inhibitory KIR in patients carrying the cognate ligand HLA-C2 (mean increase, 10.0%; 95% CI, 1.7-18.3; P = 0.018). In C2-negative individuals, KIR2DL1 expression decreased (mean decrease, 3.9%; 95% CI, 1.6-6.2; P = 0.001). As for activating KIR, there was no conclusive change pattern. Most importantly, we observed a significantly higher NK cell degranulation and IFNγ production in response to different target cells (target K562, CD107a: mean increase, 9.9%; 95% CI, 4.8-15.0; P < 0.001; IFNγ: mean increase, 6.6%; 95% CI, 1.6-11.1; P < 0.001; target MRC-5, CD107a: mean increase, 6.9%; 95% CI, 0.7-13.1; P = 0.03; IFNγ: mean increase, 4.8%; 95% CI, 1.7-7.8; P = 0.002).
CONCLUSIONS: We report evidence for an increased function of NK cells induced by CMV infection. This increased in vitro functionality was seen in NKG2C-positive and NKG2C-negative subsets, arguing for an NKG2C independent mechanism of action.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Occurring frequently after solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, cytomegalovirus (CMV) replication remains a relevant cause of mortality and morbidity in affected patients. Despite these adverse effects, an increased alloreactivity of natural killer (NK) cells after CMV infection has been assumed, but the underlying physiopathological mechanisms have remained elusive.
METHODS: We used serial analyses of NK cells before and after CMV infection in kidney transplant recipients as an in vivo model for CMV primary infection to explore the imprint of CMV infection using every patient as their own control: We analyzed NK cell phenotype and function in 47 CMV seronegative recipients of CMV seropositive kidney grafts, who developed CMV primary infection posttransplant. Seronegative recipients of seronegative kidney grafts served as controls.
RESULTS: We observed a significant increase of NKG2C expressing NK cells after CMV infection (mean increase, 17.5%; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 10.2-24.9, P < 0.001), whereas cluster of differentiation (CD)57 expressing cells decreased (mean decrease, 14.1%; 95% CI, 8.0-20.2; P < 0.001). Analysis of killer immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) expression showed an increase of cells expressing KIR2DL1 as their only inhibitory KIR in patients carrying the cognate ligand HLA-C2 (mean increase, 10.0%; 95% CI, 1.7-18.3; P = 0.018). In C2-negative individuals, KIR2DL1 expression decreased (mean decrease, 3.9%; 95% CI, 1.6-6.2; P = 0.001). As for activating KIR, there was no conclusive change pattern. Most importantly, we observed a significantly higher NK cell degranulation and IFNγ production in response to different target cells (target K562, CD107a: mean increase, 9.9%; 95% CI, 4.8-15.0; P < 0.001; IFNγ: mean increase, 6.6%; 95% CI, 1.6-11.1; P < 0.001; target MRC-5, CD107a: mean increase, 6.9%; 95% CI, 0.7-13.1; P = 0.03; IFNγ: mean increase, 4.8%; 95% CI, 1.7-7.8; P = 0.002).
CONCLUSIONS: We report evidence for an increased function of NK cells induced by CMV infection. This increased in vitro functionality was seen in NKG2C-positive and NKG2C-negative subsets, arguing for an NKG2C independent mechanism of action.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Infectious Diseases
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:July 2016
Deposited On:24 Jan 2017 09:42
Last Modified:06 Aug 2017 03:03
Publisher:Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
ISSN:2373-8731
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1097/TXD.0000000000000605
PubMed ID:27830183

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