Phenotype and Functions of Natural Killer Cells in Critically-Ill Septic PatientsReportar como inadecuado

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Natural killer cells, as a major source of interferon-γ, contribute to the amplification of the inflammatory response as well as to mortality during severe sepsis in animal models.


We studied the phenotype and functions of circulating NK cells in critically-ill septic patients.


Blood samples were taken <48 hours after admission from 42 ICU patients with severe sepsis n = 15 or septic shock n = 14 Sepsis group, non-septic SIRS n = 13 SIRS group, as well as 21 healthy controls. The immuno-phenotype and functions of NK cells were studied by flow cytometry.


The absolute number of peripheral blood CD3–CD56+ NK cells was similarly reduced in all groups of ICU patients, but with a normal percentage of NK cells. When NK cell cytotoxicity was evaluated with degranulation assays CD107 expression, no difference was observed between Sepsis patients and healthy controls. Under antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity ADCC conditions, SIRS patients exhibited increased CD107 surface expression on NK cells 62.961.3–70% compared to healthy controls 43.532.1–53.1% or Sepsis patients 49.237.3–62.9% p = 0.002. Compared to healthy 10.26.3–13.1%, reduced interferon-γ production by NK cells K562 stimulation was observed in Sepsis group 6.22.2–9.9%, p<0.01, and especially in patients with septic shock. Conversely, SIRS patients exhibited increased interferon-γ production 42.930.1–54.7% compared to Sepsis patients 18.411.7–35.7%, p<0.01 or healthy controls 26.819.3–44.9%, p = 0.09 in ADCC condition.


Extensive monitoring of the NK-cell phenotype and function in critically-ill septic patients revealed early decreased NK-cell function with impaired interferon-γ production. These results may aid future NK-based immuno-interventions.

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Autor: Jean-Marie Forel , Laurent Chiche , Guillemette Thomas, Julien Mancini, Catherine Farnarier, Céline Cognet, Christophe Guervilly



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