Background: PD-1 is an immunological checkpoint that limits immune responses by delivering potent in-hibitory signals to T cells upon interaction with specific ligands expressed on tumor/virus-infected cells, thus contributing to immune escape mechanisms (1). Therapeutic PD-1 blockade has been shown to medi-ate tumor eradication with impressive clinical results. Little is known on the expression/function of PD-1 on human NK cells (2). Objective: To clarify whether human NK cells may express PD-1 and analyze their phenotypic/functional features. Methods: Multiparametric cytofluorimetric analysis of PD-1+ NK cells and their functional characterization by degranulation, cytokine production and proliferation assays. Results: We provide unequivocal evidence that PD-1 is highly expressed (PD-1bright) on a NK cell subset detecta-ble in the peripheral blood of approximately one fourth of healthy individuals. These donors are always serologically positive for HCMV. PD-1 is expressed by CD56dim but not by CD56bright NK cells and is con-fined to fully mature NK cells characterized by the NKG2A-KIR+CD57+ phenotype. The proportions of PD-1bright NK cells were higher in the ascites of a cohort of ovarian-carcinoma patients suggesting their pos-sible induction/expansion in tumor environments. Functional analysis revealed a reduced proliferative ca-pability in response to cytokines, low degranulation and impaired cytokine production upon interaction with tumor targets. Conclusions: We have identified and characterized a novel subpopulation of human NK cells expressing high levels of PD-1. These cells have the phenotypic characteristics of fully mature NK cells and are increased in ovarian-carcinoma patients. They display low proliferative responses and im-paired anti-tumor activity that can be partially restored by antibody-mediated disruption of PD-1/PD-L interaction.
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|Titolo:||Identification of a subset of human natural killer cells expressing high levels of programmed death 1: A phenotypic and functional characterization|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2016|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01.05 - Abstract su rivista|