Mouse host unlicensed NK cells promote donor allogeneic bone marrow engraftment

Maite Alvarez, Kai Sun and William J. Murphy

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  • RE: Unlicensed natural killer cells may induce expansion of myeloid-derived suppressor cells through GM-CSF in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
    • Long Su, Blood branch doctor Department of Hematology, the First Hospital of Jilin University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Su-Jun Gao, Blood branch doctor

    Based on expression of inhibitory receptors that recognize major histocompatibility complex I (MHC I) molecules, natural killer (NK) cells can be classified as licensed and unlicensed subsets [1]. Licensed NK cells are more responsive than unlicensed NK cells when stimulated in vitro with antibodies against their activating receptors. Orr and colleagues demonstrated that unlicensed NK cells were the primary mediators of NK cell-mediated control of mouse cytomegalovirus infection in vivo [2]. In this year’s Blood issue [3], Alvarez and colleagues reported that unlicensed NK cells facilitate engraftment of donor allogeneic bone marrow cells. Host unlicensed NK cells containing inhibitory receptors matching cognate MHC I ligand in the graft secrete GM-CSF, which promotes donor cell engraftment [3]. We speculate that there may be other factors involved. In “Beijing Model” of haplo-identical stem cell transplantation, G-CSF is used to foster engraftment of donor stem cells. Recently, Huang’s group from Beijing also reported that G-CSF could induce immune tolerance through inducing expansion of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). MDSCs are a heterogeneous cell population that includes immature myeloid cells and the progenitor cells of macrophages, dendritic cells, and monocytes, which can inhibit the functions of T cells, B cells, and NK cells. In a recent study, Jin et al. demonstrated that accumulation of MDSCs in the graft and in peripheral blood when engraftment might...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.