The origin and developmental pathway of intestinal T cell receptor ??(+) CD4(-)CD8?(-) intraepithelial lymphocytes (unconventional iIELs), a major population of innate-like resident cytolytic T cells, have remained elusive. By cloning and expressing several TCRs isolated from unconventional iIELs, we identified immature CD4(lo)CD8(lo)(DP(lo))CD69(hi)PD-1(hi) thymocytes as the earliest postsignaling precursors for these cells. Although these precursors displayed multiple signs of elevated TCR signaling, a sizeable fraction of them escaped deletion to selectively engage in unconventional iIEL differentiation. Conversely, TCRs cloned from DP(lo)CD69(hi)PD-1(hi) thymocytes, a population enriched in autoreactive thymocytes, selectively gave rise to unconventional iIELs upon transgenic expression. Thus, the unconventional iIEL precursor overlaps with the DP(lo) population undergoing negative selection, indicating that, concomitant with the downregulation of both CD4 and CD8 coreceptors, a balance between apoptosis and survival signals results in outcomes as divergent as clonal deletion and differentiation to the unconventional iIEL lineage.
Isotretinoin, a vitamin A analogue, can promote a pro-inflammatory milieu in the small intestine in response to dietary antigens. We hypothesized that oral isotretinoin exposure would increase the risk of celiac disease (CD).
Interleukin-15 (IL-15) exerts many biological functions essential for the maintenance and function of multiple cell types. Although its expression is tightly regulated, IL-15 upregulation has been reported in many organ-specific autoimmune disorders. In celiac disease, an intestinal inflammatory disorder driven by gluten exposure, the upregulation of IL-15 expression in the intestinal mucosa has become a hallmark of the disease. Interestingly, because it is overexpressed both in the gut epithelium and in the lamina propria, IL-15 acts on distinct cell types and impacts distinct immune components and pathways to disrupt intestinal immune homeostasis. In this article, we review our current knowledge of the multifaceted roles of IL-15 with regard to the main immunological processes involved in the pathogenesis of celiac disease.
The NKG2 family of NK receptors includes activating and inhibitory members. With the exception of the homodimer-forming NKG2D, NKG2 receptors recognize the nonclassical MHC class I molecule HLA-E, and they can be subdivided into two groups: those that associate with and signal through DAP12 to activate cells, and those that contain an ITIM motif to promote inhibition. The function of NKG2 family member NKG2E is unclear in humans, and its surface expression has never been conclusively established, largely because there is no Ab that binds specifically to NKG2E. Seeking to determine a role for this molecule, we chose to investigate its expression and ability to form complexes with intracellular signaling molecules. We found that NKG2E was capable of associating with CD94 and DAP12 but that the complex was retained intracellularly at the endoplasmic reticulum instead of being expressed on cell surfaces, and that this localization was dependent on a sequence of hydrophobic amino acids in the extracellular domain of NKG2E. Because this particular sequence has emerged and been conserved selectively among higher order primates evolutionarily, this observation raises the intriguing possibility that NKG2E may function as an intracellular protein.
Antibiotic resistance among highly pathogenic strains of bacteria and fungi is a growing concern in the face of the ability to sustain life during critical illness with advancing medical interventions. The longer patients remain critically ill the more likely they are to become colonized by multi- drug resistant (MDR) pathogens. The human gastrointestinal tract is the primary site of colonization of many MDR pathogens and is a major source of life-threatening infections due to these microorganisms. Eradication measures to sterilize the gut are difficult if not impossible and carry the risk of further antibiotic resistance. Here we present a strategy to contain rather than eliminate MDR pathogens by using an agent that interferes with the ability of colonizing pathogens to express virulence in response to host- derived and local environmental factors. The anti- virulence agent is a phosphorylated tri - block high molecular weight polymer (herein termed Pi-PEG15-20) that exploits the known properties of phosphate (Pi) and PEG15-20 to suppress microbial virulence and protect the integrity of the intestinal epithelium. The compound is non- microbiocidal and appears to be highly effective when tested both in vitro and in vivo. Structure functional analyses suggest that the hydrophobic bis-aromatic moiety at the polymer center is of particular importance to the biological function of Pi-PEG15-20 beyond its phosphate content. Animal studies demonstrate that Pi-PEG prevents mortality in mice inoculated with high virulent multi-pathogen organisms from hospitalized patients in association with preservation of the core microbiome.
The nature of the antigens recognized by ?? T cells and their potential recognition of major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-like molecules has remained unclear. Members of the CD1 family of lipid-presenting molecules are suggested ligands for V?1 TCR-expressing ?? T cells, the major ?? lymphocyte population in epithelial tissues. We crystallized a V?1 TCR in complex with CD1d and the self-lipid sulfatide, revealing the unusual recognition of CD1d by germline V?1 residues spanning all complementarity-determining region (CDR) loops, as well as sulfatide recognition separately encoded by nongermline CDR3? residues. Binding and functional analysis showed that CD1d presenting self-lipids, including sulfatide, was widely recognized by gut V?1+ ?? T cells. These findings provide structural demonstration of MHC-like recognition of a self-lipid by ?? T cells and reveal the prevalence of lipid recognition by innate-like T cell populations.
Increased serum levels of IL-15 are reported in type 1 diabetes (T1D). Here we report elevated serum soluble IL-15R? levels in human T1D. To investigate the role of IL-15/IL-15R? in the pathogenesis of T1D, we generated double transgenic mice with pancreatic ?-cell expression of IL-15 and IL-15R?. The mice developed hyperglycemia, marked mononuclear cell infiltration, ?-cell destruction, and anti-insulin autoantibodies that mimic early human T1D. The diabetes in this model was reversed by inhibiting IL-15 signaling with anti-IL2/IL15R? (anti-CD122), which blocks IL-15 transpresentation. Furthermore, the diabetes could be reversed by administration of the Janus kinase 2/3 inhibitor tofacitinib, which blocks IL-15 signaling. In an alternative diabetes model, nonobese diabetic mice, IL15/IL-15R? expression was increased in islet cells in the prediabetic stage, and inhibition of IL-15 signaling with anti-CD122 at the prediabetic stage delayed diabetes development. In support of the view that these observations reflect the conditions in humans, we demonstrated pancreatic islet expression of both IL-15 and IL-15R? in human T1D. Taken together our data suggest that disordered IL-15 and IL-15R? may be involved in T1D pathogenesis and the IL-15/IL15R? system and its signaling pathway may be rational therapeutic targets for early T1D.
A major challenge of cancer immunotherapy is the persistence and outgrowth of subpopulations that lose expression of the target antigen. IL-15 is a potent cytokine that can promote organ-specific autoimmunity when up-regulated on tissue cells. Here we report that T cells eradicated 2-wk-old solid tumors that expressed IL-15, eliminating antigen-negative cells. In contrast, control tumors that lacked IL-15 expression consistently relapsed. Interestingly, even tumors lacking expression of cognate antigen were rejected when expressing IL-15, indicating that rejection after adoptive T-cell transfer was independent of cognate antigen expression. Nevertheless, the T-cell receptor of the transferred T cells influenced the outcome, consistent with the notion that T-cell receptor activation and effector status determine whether IL-15 can confer lymphokine killer activity-like properties to T cells. The effect was limited to the microenvironment of tumors expressing IL-15; there were no noticeable effects on contralateral tumors lacking IL-15. Taken together, these results indicate that expression of IL-15 in the tumor microenvironment may prevent the escape of antigen loss variants and subsequent tumor recurrence by enabling T cells to eliminate cancer cells lacking cognate antigen expression in a locally restricted manner.
Coeliac disease, an inflammatory disease of the small intestine, shares key features with autoimmune disorders, such as susceptibility genes, presence of autoantibodies and T cell-mediated destruction of specific cells. Strikingly, however, continuous exposure to the exogenous dietary antigen gluten and gluten-specific adaptive immunity are required to maintain immunopathology. These observations challenge the notion that autoimmunity requires adaptive immune activation towards self antigens. Using coeliac disease as an example, we propose that other exogenous factors might be identified as drivers of autoimmune processes, in particular when evidence for T cells with specificity for self antigens driving the disease is lacking.
Recent interest in testing whether the success of antigen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT) for autoimmune diseases in mice can be translated to humans has highlighted the need for better tools to study and understand human autoimmunity. Clinical development of ASIT for allergy has been instructive, but limited understanding of CD4 T cell epitope/determinant hierarchies hampers the rational design and monitoring of ASIT. Definitive identification of pathogenic T cell epitopes as is now known in celiac disease and recent initiatives to optimize immune monitoring will facilitate rational design, monitoring and mechanistic understanding of ASIT for human autoimmune diseases.
NK cells are large granular lymphocytes that form a critical component of the innate immune system, whose functions include the killing of cells expressing stress-induced molecules. It is increasingly accepted that despite being considered prototypical effector cells, NK cells require signals to reach their full cytotoxic potential. We previously showed that IL-15 is capable of arming CD8 effector T cells to kill independently of their TCR via NKG2D in a cPLA2-dependent process. As NK cells also express NKG2D, we wanted to investigate whether this pathway functioned in an analogous manner and if resting NK cells could be primed to the effector phase by IL-15. Furthermore, to establish relevance to human disease we studied a possible role for this pathway in the pathogenesis of psoriatic arthritis, since there are aspects of this disease that suggest a potential effector role for the innate immune system. We found that PsA patients had upregulated IL-15 and MIC in their affected synovial tissues, and that this unique inflammatory environment enabled NK cell activation and killing via NKG2D and cPLA2. Moreover, we were able to reproduce the phenotype of joint NK cells from blood NK cells by incubating them with IL-15. Altogether, these findings suggest a destructive role for NK cells when activated by environmental stress signals during the pathogenesis of PsA and demonstrate that IL-15 is capable of priming resting NK cells in tissues to the effector phase.
Posttranslational modification (PTM) of antigen is a way to break T-cell tolerance to self-antigens and promote autoimmunity. However, the precise mechanisms by which modifications would facilitate autoimmune T-cell responses and how they relate to particular autoimmune-associated MHC molecules remain elusive. Celiac disease is a T-cell mediated enteropathy with a strong HLA association where the immune response is directed mainly against deamidated cereal gluten peptides that have been modified by the enzyme transglutaminase 2. The disease is further characterized by autoantibodies to transglutaminase 2 that have extraordinary high disease specificity and sensitivity. There have been important advances in the knowledge of celiac disease pathogenesis, and these insights may be applicable to other autoimmune disorders where PTM plays a role. This insight gives clues for understanding the involvement of PTMs in other autoimmune diseases.
Mucosal surfaces constantly encounter microbes. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) mediate recognition of microbial patterns to eliminate pathogens. By contrast, we demonstrate that the prominent gut commensal Bacteroides fragilis activates the TLR pathway to establish host-microbial symbiosis. TLR2 on CD4(+) T cells is required for B. fragilis colonization of a unique mucosal niche in mice during homeostasis. A symbiosis factor (PSA, polysaccharide A) of B. fragilis signals through TLR2 directly on Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells to promote immunologic tolerance. B. fragilis lacking PSA is unable to restrain T helper 17 cell responses and is defective in niche-specific mucosal colonization. Therefore, commensal bacteria exploit the TLR pathway to actively suppress immunity. We propose that the immune system can discriminate between pathogens and the microbiota through recognition of symbiotic bacterial molecules in a process that engenders commensal colonization.
Potential celiacs have the celiac type HLA, positive anti-transglutaminase antibodies but no damage at small intestinal mucosa. Only a minority of them develops mucosal lesion. More than 40 genes were associated to Celiac Disease (CD) but we still do not know how those pathways transform a genetically predisposed individual into an affected person. The aim of the study is to explore the genetic features of Potential CD individuals.
Celiac disease (CD) is a gluten-sensitive enteropathy that develops in genetically susceptible individuals by exposure to cereal gluten proteins. This review integrates insights from immunological studies with results of recent genetic genome-wide association studies into a disease model. Genetic data, among others, suggest that viral infections are implicated and that natural killer effector pathways are important in the pathogenesis of CD, but most prominently these data converge with existing immunological findings that CD is primarily a T cell-mediated immune disorder in which CD4(+) T cells that recognize gluten peptides in the context of major histocompatibility class II molecules play a central role. Comparison of genetic pathways as well as genetic susceptibility loci between CD and other autoimmune and inflammatory disorders reveals that CD bears stronger resemblance to T cell-mediated organ-specific autoimmune than to inflammatory diseases. Finally, we present evidence suggesting that the high prevalence of CD in modern societies may be the by-product of past selection for increased immune responses to combat infections in populations in which agriculture and cereals were introduced early on in the post-Neolithic period.
Deficiencies of the T cell and NK cell CD3? signaling adapter protein in patients with cancer and autoimmune diseases are well documented, but mechanistic explanations are fragmentary. The stimulatory NKG2D receptor on T and NK cells mediates tumor immunity but can also promote local and systemic immune suppression in conditions of persistent NKG2D ligand induction that include cancer and certain autoimmune diseases. In this paper, we provide evidence that establishes a causative link between CD3? impairment and chronic NKG2D stimulation due to pathological ligand expression. We describe a mechanism whereby NKG2D signaling in human T and NK cells initiates Fas ligand/Fas-mediated caspase-3/-7 activation and resultant CD3? degradation. As a consequence, the functional capacities of the TCR, the low-affinity Fc receptor for IgG, and the NKp30 and NKp46 natural cytotoxicity receptors, which all signal through CD3?, are impaired. These findings are extended to ex vivo phenotypes of T and NK cells among tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and in peripheral blood from patients with juvenile-onset lupus. Collectively, these results indicate that pathological NKG2D ligand expression leads to simultaneous impairment of multiple CD3?-dependent receptor functions, thus offering an explanation that may be applicable to CD3? deficiencies associated with diverse disease conditions.
Cytoprotective heat shock proteins (Hsps) are critical for intestinal homeostasis and are known to be decreased in inflammatory bowel diseases. Signals responsible for maintenance of Hsp expression are incompletely understood. In this study, we find that Hsp25/27 and Hsp70 protein expressions are differentially regulated along the longitudinal length of the large intestine, being highest in the proximal colon and decreasing to the distal colon. This longitudinal gradient was similar in both conventionally colonized mouse colon as well as biopsies of human proximal and distal colon but was abolished in the colon of germ-free mice, suggesting a role of intestinal microbiota in the Hsp regional expression. Correspondingly, analysis of 16S ribosomal RNA genes of bacteria from each colonic segment indicated increased bacterial richness and diversity in the proximal colon. The mechanism of regulation is transcriptional, as Hsp70 mRNA followed a similar pattern to Hsp70 protein expression. Lysates of mucosa-associated bacteria from the proximal colon stimulated greater Hsp25 and Hsp70 mRNA transcription and subsequent protein expression in intestinal epithelial cells than did lysates from distal colon. In addition, transrectal administration of cecal contents stimulated Hsp25 and Hsp70 expression in the distal colon. Thus host-microbial interactions resulting in differential Hsp expression may have significant implications for the maintenance of intestinal homeostasis and possibly for development of inflammatory diseases of the bowel.
Many colonic mucosal genes that are highly regulated by microbial signals are differentially expressed along the rostral-caudal axis. This would suggest that differences in regional microbiota exist, particularly mucosa-associated microbes that are less likely to be transient. We therefore explored this possibility by examining the bacterial populations associated with the normal proximal and distal colonic mucosa in context of host Toll-like receptors (TLR) expression in C57BL/6J mice housed in specific pathogen-free (SPF) and germ-free (GF) environments. 16S rRNA gene-based terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and clone library analysis revealed significant differences in the community structure and diversity of the mucosa-associated microbiota located in the distal colon compared to proximal colon and stool, the latter two clustering closely. Differential expression of colonic TLR2 and TLR4 along the proximal-distal axis was also found in SPF mice, but not in GF mice, suggesting that enteric microbes are essential in maintaining the regional expression of these TLRs. TLR2 is more highly expressed in proximal colon and decreases in a gradient to distal while TLR4 expression is highest in distal colon and a gradient of decreased expression to proximal colon is observed. After transfaunation in GF mice, both regional colonization of mucosa-associated microbes and expression of TLRs in the mouse colon were reestablished. In addition, exposure of the distal colon to cecal (proximal) microbiota induced TLR2 expression. These results demonstrate that regional colonic mucosa-associated microbiota determine the region-specific expression of TLR2 and TLR4. Conversely, region-specific host assembly rules are essential in determining the structure and function of mucosa-associated microbial populations. We believe this type of host-microbial mutualism is pivotal to the maintenance of intestinal and immune homeostasis.
Genetic susceptibility to autoimmunity is frequently associated with specific MHC alleles. Diabetogenic MHC class II molecules, such as human HLA-DQ8 and mouse I-Ag7, typically have a small, uncharged amino acid residue at position 57 of their beta chain (beta57); this results in the absence of a salt bridge between beta57 and Argalpha76, which is adjacent to the P9 pocket of the peptide-binding groove. However, the influence of Argalpha76 on the selection of the TCR repertoire remains unknown, particularly when the MHC molecule binds a peptide with a neutral amino acid residue at position P9. Here, we have shown that diabetogenic MHC class II molecules bound to a peptide with a neutral P9 residue primarily selected and expanded cells expressing TCRs bearing a negatively charged residue in the first segment of their complementarity determining region 3beta. The crystal structure of one such TCR in complex with I-Ag7 bound to a peptide containing a neutral P9 residue revealed that a network of favorable long-range (greater than 4 A) electrostatic interactions existed among Argalpha76, the neutral P9 residue, and TCR, which supported the substantially increased TCR/peptide-MHC affinity. This network could be modulated or switched to a lower affinity interaction by the introduction of a negative charge at position P9 of the peptide. Our results support the existence of a switch at residue beta57 of the I-Ag7 and HLA-DQ8 class II molecules and potentially link normal thymic TCR selection with abnormal peripheral behavior.
Coeliac disease is an inflammatory disorder with autoimmune features that is characterized by destruction of the intestinal epithelium and remodelling of the intestinal mucosa following the ingestion of dietary gluten. A common feature of coeliac disease and many organ-specific autoimmune diseases is a central role for T cells in causing tissue destruction. In this Review, we discuss the emerging hypothesis that, in coeliac disease, intestinal tissue inflammation--induced either by infectious agents or by gluten--is crucial for activating T cells and eliciting their tissue-destructive effector functions.
IL-15 and NKG2D promote autoimmunity and celiac disease by arming cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) to cause tissue destruction. However, the downstream signaling events underlying these functional properties remain unclear. Here, we identify cytosolic phospholipase A(2) (cPLA(2)) as a central molecule in NKG2D-mediated cytolysis in CTLs. Furthermore, we report that NKG2D induces, upon recognition of MIC(+) target cells, the release of arachidonic acid (AA) by CTLs to promote tissue inflammation in association with target killing. Interestingly, IL-15, which licenses NKG2D-mediated lymphokine killer activity in CTLs, cooperates with NKG2D to induce cPLA(2) activation and AA release. Finally, cPLA(2) activation in intraepithelial CTLs of celiac patients provides an in vivo pathophysiological dimension to cPLA(2) activation in CTLs. These results reveal an unrecognized link between NKG2D and tissue inflammation, which may underlie the emerging role of NKG2D in various immunopathological conditions and define new therapeutic targets.
Celiac disease results from the interplay of genetic, environmental, and immunologic factors. An understanding of the pathophysiology of celiac disease, in which the trigger (wheat, rye, and barley) is known, will undoubtedly reveal basic mechanisms that underlie other autoimmune diseases (eg, type 1 diabetes) that share many common pathogenic perturbations. This review describes seminal findings in each of the 3 domains of the pathogenesis of celiac disease, namely genetics, environmental triggers, and immune dysregulation, with a focus on newer areas of investigation such as non-HLA genetic variants, the intestinal microbiome, and the role of the innate immune system.
?? T-cell lines specific for sulfatide, an abundant myelin glycosphingolipid presented by various CD1 molecules, have been previously derived from PBMCs of patients with demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) but also from healthy subjects. Using an unbiased tetramer-based MACS enrichment method to enrich for rare antigen-specific cells, we confirmed the presence of CD1d-sulfatide-specific T cells in all healthy individuals examined. Surprisingly, the great majority of fresh sulfatide-specific T cells belonged to the ?? lineage. Furthermore, these cells used the V?1 TCR variable segment, which is uncommon in the blood but predominates in tissues such as the gut and specifically accumulates in MS lesions. Recombinant V?1 TCRs from different individuals were shown to bind recombinant CD1d-sulfatide complexes in a sulfatide-specific manner. These results provide the first direct demonstration of MHC-like-restricted, antigen-specific recognition by ?? TCRs. Together with previous reports, they support the notion that human V?1 T cells are enriched in CD1-specific T cells and suggest that the V?1 T-cell population that accumulates in MS lesions might be enriched in CD1-sulfatide-specific cells.
The balance between regulatory and inflammatory immune responses is critical to maintain intestinal homeostasis. Furthermore, the nature of the inflammatory response needs to be tailored to the tissue to provide proper protective immunity while preserving host integrity. TLR2 (Toll-like receptor 2) is a unique TLR in that it has been shown to promote regulatory and inflammatory T cell responses. Using Yersinia enterocolitica, we show that oral infection promotes T(H)17 immunity, whereas systemic infection promotes T(H)1 immunity. Furthermore, induction of T(H)17 immunity during oral infection is dependent on TLR1 and results from the combinatorial effect of TLR2/TLR1-induced IL-6 and IL-23 and the presence of TGF-? in the intestinal environment. Interestingly, TLR2/TLR1 was not involved in T(H)1 immune responses during systemic infection, whereas the TLR2/TLR6 receptor complex induced IL-10(+) regulatory T cell responses during both systemic and oral infections. Our results reveal that the route of infection is central in determining which pathways provide protective immunity. Furthermore, they also demonstrate that TLR2 has dual immune functions in the gut and identify TLR1 as a critical innate receptor for protective intestinal T(H)17 immunity.
The composite human microbiome of Western populations has probably changed over the past century, brought on by new environmental triggers that often have a negative impact on human health. Here we show that consumption of a diet high in saturated (milk-derived) fat, but not polyunsaturated (safflower oil) fat, changes the conditions for microbial assemblage and promotes the expansion of a low-abundance, sulphite-reducing pathobiont, Bilophila wadsworthia. This was associated with a pro-inflammatory T helper type 1 (T(H)1) immune response and increased incidence of colitis in genetically susceptible Il10(?/?), but not wild-type mice. These effects are mediated by milk-derived-fat-promoted taurine conjugation of hepatic bile acids, which increases the availability of organic sulphur used by sulphite-reducing microorganisms like B. wadsworthia. When mice were fed a low-fat diet supplemented with taurocholic acid, but not with glycocholic acid, for example, a bloom of B. wadsworthia and development of colitis were observed in Il10(?/?) mice. Together these data show that dietary fats, by promoting changes in host bile acid composition, can markedly alter conditions for gut microbial assemblage, resulting in dysbiosis that can perturb immune homeostasis. The data provide a plausible mechanistic basis by which Western-type diets high in certain saturated fats might increase the prevalence of complex immune-mediated diseases like inflammatory bowel disease in genetically susceptible hosts.
Celiac disease is a T cell-mediated immune disorder induced by dietary gluten that is characterized by the development of an inflammatory anti-gluten CD4 T cell response, anti-gluten antibodies, and autoantibodies against tissue transglutaminase 2 and the activation of intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) leading to the destruction of the intestinal epithelium. Intraepithelial lymphocytes represent a heterogeneous population of T cells composed mainly of cytotoxic CD8 T cells residing within the epithelial layer, whose main role is to maintain the integrity of the epithelium by eliminating infected cells and promoting epithelial repair. Dysregulated activation of IELs is a hallmark of CD and is critically involved in epithelial cell destruction and the subsequent development of villous atrophy. In this review, we compare and contrast the phenotype and function of human and mouse small intestinal IELs under physiological conditions. Furthermore, we discuss how conditions of epithelial distress associated with overexpression of IL-15 and non-classical MHC class I molecules induce cytotoxic IELs to become licensed killer cells that upregulate activating NKG2D and CD94/NKG2C natural killer receptors, acquiring lymphokine killer activity. Pathways leading to dysregulated IEL activation could eventually be targeted to prevent villous atrophy and treat patients who respond poorly to gluten-free diet.
Natural killer (NK) cells inhibit early stages of tumor formation, recurrence, and metastasis. Here, we show that NK cells can also eradicate large solid tumors. Eradication depended on the massive infiltration of proliferating NK cells due to interleukin 15 (IL-15) released and presented by the cancer cells in the tumor microenvironment. Infiltrating NK cells had the striking morphologic feature of being densely loaded with periodic acid-Schiff-positive, diastase-resistant granules, resembling uterine NK cells. Perforin-mediated killing by these densely granulated NK cells was essential for tumor eradication. Expression of the IL-15 receptor ? on cancer cells was needed to efficiently induce granulated NK cells, and expression on host stromal cells was essential to prevent tumor relapse after near complete destruction. These results indicate that IL-15 released at the cancer site induces highly activated NK cells that lead to eradication of large solid tumors.
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