• cytotoxicity;
  • γδ T cells;
  • multiple myeloma;
  • NKp44;
  • natural cytotoxicity receptors


γδ T cells account for up to 10% of T lymphocytes in the peripheral blood of healthy donors. They can be activated by cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-2, IL-12 and IL-15, express natural killer (NK) cell markers such as NKG2D and show cytotoxic activity against several tumour cells, including multiple myeloma. Here, we present activated polyclonal γδ T cells from healthy donors with an NK T cell-like phenotype expressing the natural cytotoxicity receptor NKp44. Natural cytotoxicity receptors NKp30, NKp44 and NKp46 have been regarded as specific NK receptors; only two γδ T cell clones described so far expressed NKp44. Isolated polyclonal γδ T cells cultured for 7 days according to the cytokine-induced killer cell (CIK) protocol with additional IL-15 revealed a surface expression of NKp44 of 8 ± 7% (n = 22). This could be confirmed by detection of NKp44 mRNA by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR). γδ T cells exhibited a marked cytotoxic activity against myeloma cells, which could be reduced by inhibition of NKp44. To our knowledge, this is the first description of the expression of NKp44 on polyclonal γδ T cells.