NK cells are important in the immune response against tumors and virally infected cells. A balance between inhibitory and activating receptors controls the effector functions of NK cells. We examined the fate of circulating NK cells and the expression of the NK cell-activating receptors in pediatric liver transplant recipients. Blood specimens were collected from 38 pediatric liver transplant recipients before transplant, and at one wk, one, three, six, and nine months, and one yr post-transplant. PBMCs were isolated and analyzed for the levels of NK cell activation receptors NKp30, NKp46, and NKG2D in the CD56(dim) CD16(+) and CD56(bright) CD16(+/-) subsets of NK cells. We demonstrated that there is a significant decrease in the percentage of circulating NK cells post-transplant (pretransplant 7.69 ± 1.54 vs. one wk post-transplant 1.73 ± 0.44) in pediatric liver transplant recipients. Interestingly, NKp30 expression is significantly increased, while NKp46 and NKG2D levels remain stable on the NK cells that persist at one wk post-transplant. These data indicate that the numbers and subsets of circulating NK cells are altered in children after liver transplantation.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1399-3046.2012.01653.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000300709600017
View details for PubMedID 22360401
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3306774