Study of cord blood natural killer cell suppressor activity
Article first published online: 21 DEC 2001
European Journal of Haematology
Volume 66, Issue 4, pages 215–220, April 2001
How to Cite
El Marsafy, S., Dosquet, C., Coudert, M.-C., Bensussan, A., Carosella, E. and Gluckman, E. (2001), Study of cord blood natural killer cell suppressor activity. European Journal of Haematology, 66: 215–220. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0609.2001.066004215.x
- Issue published online: 21 DEC 2001
- Article first published online: 21 DEC 2001
- Accepted for publication 30 November 2000
- cord blood;
- natural killer cells;
- graft-versus-host disease
Abstract: We tested the immunosuppressive effect of cord blood (CB) natural killer (NK) cells using highly purified CB NK cells in mixed lymphocyte cultures (MLC) containing autologous CB T cells as responders. Control cultures were done without NK cells. Our findings revealed that CB NK cells induced a dose-dependent inhibition of T lymphocyte proliferation as evidenced by decreased 3H-thymidine incorporation in MLC. The T cell alloproliferation was significantly decreased in the presence of an NK cell to responder cell ratio of 0.1, 0.2 or 0.4 compared with control cultures done without NK cells (p=0.02, 0.003 and 0.0002, respectively). T lymphocyte inhibition was also achieved using irradiated CB NK cells and still demonstrable on addition of disparate CB NK and T cells to the MLC.
In agreement with previous reports, adult blood NK cells inhibited the alloreactive T cells in the MLC using adult T lymphocytes as responders. Compared to control cultures done without NK cells, statistically significant inhibition of 3H-thymidine incorporation in MLC was observed at a ratio of NK cells to responder cells ratio of 0.2 or 0.4 (p=0.02).
To investigate the mechanism whereby CB NK cells can interfere with the development of alloreactive T cells in MLC, we measured the tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) concentrations in MLC supernatants using NK cell-depleted or unseparated CB mononuclear cells (MNC) as responders. The results revealed significantly high levels of TNF-α in the absence of NK cells (p=0.007). We conclude that CB NK cells suppress alloreactive T lymphocytes as do their counterparts in adult blood. However, the high NK to T cell ratio in CB could contribute to a more marked suppressive potential compared to that in adult blood. The mechanism of NK-mediated inhibition is likely related to disruption of the TNF-α pathway of T-lymphocyte activation.