Human NK1 and NK2 subsets determined by purification of IFN-gamma-secreting and IFN-gamma-nonsecreting NK cells

Deniz G., AKDIS M., Aktas E., BLASER K., AKDIS C.

EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY, vol.32, no.3, pp.879-884, 2002 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 32 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.879-884
  • Keywords: NK cell, IFN-gamma, IL-4, IL-13, NK1/2, NK2, T-CELL, KILLER CELLS, IL-5, INFLAMMATION, CD4(+), IGE
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


The in vivo existence of human NK cell subsets similar to Th1 and Th2 cells was demonstrated in freshly isolated IFN-gamma-secreting and IFN-gamma-nonsecreting NK cells. The IFN-gamma-secreting NK subset showed a typical cytokine pattern with predominant expression of IFN-gamma, but almost no IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13. In contrast, the IFN-gamma-nonsecreting NK subset was composed of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13-producing NK cells. Short-time stimulation or 2 weeks of in vitro differentiation of NK cells led to distinct patterns of cytokine production similar to freshly-purified IFN-gamma (+) or IFN-gamma (-) NK cell subsets. NK cells stimulated with IL-12 produced increased levels of IFN-gamma and decreased levels of IL-4. In contrast, stimulation of NK cells with IL-4 inhibited IFN-gamma, but increased IL-13 production. Freshly-purified IFN-gamma (+) and IFN-gamma (-) or in vitro differentiated NK1 and NK2 subsets showed similar cytotoxicity to K562 cells. These results demonstrate that circulating NK cells retain effector subsets in humans with distinct cytokine profiles and may display different inflammatory properties.