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Autoimmunity. 2011 Sep 19. [Epub ahead of print]
The role of natural killer cells in autoimmune blistering diseases.
Zakka LR, et al
The major focus of this paper is to describe and evaluate current information on the role of natural killer cells (NK cells) in the pathogenesis of blistering diseases. Until now, only pemphigus vulgaris (PV) has been studied. One co-culture study demonstrated that CD4(+) T cells from the peripheral blood or perilesional skin of patients with active disease proliferate and secrete cytokines in the presence of major histocompatibility class II-expressing NK cells loaded with antigenic desmoglein self-peptides. Another study showed that NK cells can contribute to a T helper type 2-biased immune response through impaired interleukins (IL)-12 signaling and upregulation of IL, IL-10 and IL-5. Although significant data on other blistering diseases are unavailable at present, some studies implicate NK cells in disease progression. For instance, information on the role of NK cells in psoriasis and their production of tumor necrosis factor-á (TNF-á) will be provided since several TNF-á-inhibitors are used in its treatment. Studies on hair loss due to alopecia areata are also included in this paper because NK cells seem to play a key role in its pathogenesis. This review highlights the potential importance of NK cells and NKT cells as members of the large repertoire of cells and soluble mediators that play a critical role in pathogenesis of blistering diseases and other autoimmune diseases involving the skin. Therefore, the authors advocate a greater focus and interest on the study of the interaction of NK cells and the skin.
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