Cytometric analysis reveals an association between allergen-responsive natural killer cells and human peanut allergy. The Journal of clinical investigation Zhou, X., Yu, W., Dunham, D. M., Schuetz, J. P., Blish, C. A., DeKruyff, R. H., Nadeau, K. C. 2022; 132 (20)


Food allergies are a leading cause of anaphylaxis, and allergen-specific immune responses in both the innate and the adaptive immune system play key roles in its pathogenesis. We conducted a comprehensive phenotypic and functional investigation of immune cell responses from nonallergic (NA) and peanut allergic (PA) participants cultured with media alone or peanut protein and found, surprisingly, that NK cell activation was strongly associated with the immune response to allergen in PA participants. Peanut-responsive NK cells manifested a distinct expression pattern in PA participants compared with NA participants. Allergen-activated NK cells expressed both Th2 and immune regulatory cytokines, hinting at a potential functional role in mediating and regulating the Th2 allergic response. Depletion of CD3+ T cells attenuated the response of NK cells to peanut-allergen stimulation, suggesting that peanut-responsive NK cells are T cell dependent. We also showed that oral immune therapy was associated with decreased NK responses to peanut allergen stimulation in vitro. These results demonstrate that NK cells are associated with the food-allergic immune response, and the magnitude of this mobilized cell population suggests that they play a functional role in allergic immunity.

View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI157962

View details for PubMedID 36250466