Age-related changes in natural killer cell receptors


Age-related changes in natural killer cell receptors from childhood through old age


Most studies on natural killer (NK) cells and aging have focused on overall cell numbers and global cytotoxic혻activity. NK cell functions are controlled by surface receptors belonging to three major families: killer cell혻immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs), natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCRs), and C-type lectins. The expression혻of these receptors was investigated from childhood through old age in T, NKT- andNKcells and also in the혻CD56dim (cytotoxic) and CD56bright (responsible for cytokine production) NK cell subsets. A decrase in the expression of activating receptors (NKp30 and NKp46) was observed in NK cells in elderly individuals. KIR혻expression was increased only in the CD56bright subset. Children presented similar results regarding expressionof NKp30 and KIR, but not NKp46.NKG2Dexpression was decreased in T cells of elderly subjects.

Analysis혻of KIR genotype revealed that KIR2DL5 and KIR2DS3 were significantly associated with old age. Cytotoxic혻activity was preserved from childhood through old age, suggesting that the increase of the absolute number혻of CD56dim, observed in elderly, may represent a compensatory mechanism for the receptor expression혻alterations. This initial study provides the framework for more focused studies of this subject, which are혻necessary to determine whether the changing balance of NK receptor expression may influence susceptibility혻to infectious, inflammatory, and neoplastic diseases.
2011 American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights혻reserved.


Age-related changes in T-, NKT-, and NK-cell populations. Aging is associated with changes in both NK-cell subpopulations NK activity is preserved from childhood through old age.

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