It was demonstrated that human natural killer (NK) cells, via antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC)-like mechanism, increase IFNγ production after exposure to alloantigens. This finding was associated with an increased risk for antibody-mediated rejection (ABMR). Although the effects of various immunosuppressive drugs on T cells and B cells have been extensively studied, their effects on NK cells are less clear. This study reports the effect of immunosuppressive agents on antibody-mediated NK cell activation in vitro. Whole blood from normal individuals was incubated with irradiated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) pretreated with anti-HLA antibody+ sera (in vitro ADCC), with or without immunosuppressive agents. The %IFNγ+ and CD107a+ (degranulation marker) in CD56+ NK cells were enumerated by flow cytometry. Cyclosporine A and tacrolimus significantly reduced IFNγ production in a dose-dependent manner (53%-83%), but showed minimal effect on degranulation (20%). Prednisone significantly reduced both IFNγ production and degranulation (50%-66% reduction at maximum therapeutic levels). Calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) in combination with prednisone additively suppressed IFNγ production and degranulation. The effec...Continue Reading
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