Fas ligand-induced apoptosis of hepatocytes in natural killer cell leukaemia


Dr Shuji Ozaki, First Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Tokushima, 3-18-15 Kuramoto-cho, Tokushima 770-8503, Japan. e-mail: ozakishu@ clin.med.tokushima-u.ac.jp


Neoplastic natural killer (NK) cells overexpress Fas ligand (FasL), which may cause damage of Fas-bearing tissues. We report a patient with NK cell leukaemia who developed liver injury after pharyngitis. The NK leukaemic cells expressed functional FasL. In addition to soluble FasL, serum levels of interleukin-6 and interferon-γ were increased dramatically when liver injury was aggravated. Moreover, hepatocytes expressed Fas and apoptotic hepatocytes were detected in the portal areas. These findings are consistent with the notion that inflammatory cytokines enhance the sensitivity to FasL and trigger apoptosis of hepatocytes in NK cell malignancies.