The similarity of stromal-like Wilms tumor (str-WT) cells with mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), suggests their relevant role in the interplay with immune cells in the tumor microenvironment. We investigated the interaction between str-WT cells and NK cells. We observed that str-WT cells expressed some major ligands for activating and inhibitory NK cell receptors. Moreover, they expressed inhibitory checkpoint molecules involved in the negative regulation of anti-tumor immune response. The analysis of the interaction between str-WT cells and NK lymphocytes revealed that activated NK cells could efficiently degranulate upon interaction with str-WT cells. On the other hand, str-WT cells could exert potent inhibitory effects on cytokine-induced activation of NK cell proliferation and phenotype, which were mediated by the production of IDO and PGE2 inhibitory factors. Our data provide insight into the molecular interactions between str-WT cells and NK lymphocytes that may result in different outcomes possibly occurring in the WT microenvironment.
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