Human NK cells

Published on July 30, 2015   34 min

Other Talks in the Series: Immunotherapy of Cancer

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This is the cells we will talk about, the NK cells seen in blood smear. As you can see, they are large granular lymphocytes with granules that are responsible for killing of tumor cells or virus infected cells.
NK cells originate from hematopoietic stem cells and belong to a growing family that we call Innate Lymphoid Cells, ILC, which all derive from an Id2 positive resource. And depending on the cytokine milieu and on the transcription factors that are being activated, these resource can give rise to different group of ILC. NK cells, as you can see in these figures, belong to group one. ILC is those cells which release interferon gamma and have also, at least in the case of NK cells, the ability to kill viral infected cells.
NK cells serve a number of functional capability, and we can group these functional abilities in cytotoxicity, which means their ability to kill tumor or leukemia cells. They were discovered really for their ability to kill tumors, but they also kill virus infected cells, which is a very important function, and they perform also DC editing, as we'll discuss. We should not forget, NK cells are important cytokine producers. So they can induce inflammatory response, regulate adaptive immune response, regulate hematopoiesis, induce DC maturity, and also to play some important role at the decidual level. They are able to proliferate in response to cytokines activate.