European journal of immunology

IL-27 stimulates human NK-cell effector functions and primes NK cells for IL-18 responsiveness.

PMID 25308526


IL-27, a member of the IL-12 family of cytokines, is produced by APCs, and displays pro- and anti-inflammatory effects. How IL-27 affects human NK cells still remains unknown. In this study, we observed that mature DCs secreted IL-27 and that blockade of IL-27R (CD130) reduced the amount of IFN-γ produced by NK cells during their coculture, showing the importance of IL-27 during DC-NK-cell crosstalk. Accordingly, human rIL-27 stimulated IFN-γ secretion by NK cells in a STAT1-dependent manner, induced upregulation of CD25 and CD69 on NK cells, and displayed a synergistic effect with IL-18. Preincubation experiments demonstrated that IL-27 primed NK cells for IL-18-induced IFN-γ secretion, which was associated with an IL-27-driven upregulation of T-bet expression. Also, IL-27 triggered NKp46-dependent NK-cell-mediated cytotoxicity against Raji, T-47D, and HCT116 cells, and IL-18 enhanced this cytotoxic response. Such NK-cell-mediated cytotoxicity involved upregulation of perforin, granule exocytosis, and TRAIL-mediated cytotoxicity but not Fas-FasL interaction. Moreover, IL-27 also potentiated Ab-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity against mAb-coated target cells. Taken together, IL-27 stimulates NK-cell effector functions, which might be relevant in different physiological and pathological situations.