A novel immunoregulatory role for NK-cell cytotoxicity in protection from HLH-like immunopathology in mice.
Sepulveda FE, Maschalidi S, Vosshenrich CA, Garrigue A, Kurowska M, Ménasche G, Fischer A, Di Santo JP, de Saint Basile G.
2015 May 28
The impairment of cytotoxic activity of lymphocytes disturbs immune surveillance and leads to the development of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytic syndrome (HLH). Although cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) control of HLH development is well documented, the role for natural killer (NK)-cell effector functions in the pathogenesis of this immune disorder remains unclear. In this study, we specifically targeted a defect in cytotoxicity to either CTL or NK cells in mice so as to dissect the contribution of these lymphocyte subsets to HLH-like disease severity after lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection. We found that NK-cell cytotoxicity was sufficient to protect mice from the fatal outcome that characterizes HLH-like disease and was also sufficient to reduce HLH-like manifestations. Mechanistically, NK-cell cytotoxicity reduced tissue infiltration by inflammatory macrophages and downmodulated LCMV-specific T-cell responses by limiting hyperactivation of CTL. Interestingly, the critical protective effect of NK cells on HLH was independent of interferon-γ secretion and changes in viral load. Therefore our findings identify a crucial role of NK-cell cytotoxicity in limiting HLH-like immunopathology, highlighting the important role of NK cytotoxic activity in immune homeostasis.