Natural Killer Cell Functional Activity After 4-1BB Costimulation.

PMID 25520217


Reports show enhancement of CD8 T cells' activity through CD137 (4-1BB) signal; however, not all data proved similar effect in natural killer (NK) cells. Here, the impact of 4-1BB signal on NK cells' function was assessed during short term cultures. To that end, cytokine-activated NK cells were cocultured with adenovirally transduced MCF-7 stimulator cells expressing 4-1BB ligand. Cellular cytotoxicity, cytokine production, and expression of cytotoxicity related genes were assessed after overnight cultures. Sharp decrease of CD56+ and CD56bright NK cells was demonstrated. 4-1BB neither enhanced cellular degranulation nor improved IFN-γ production although it promoted granzyme B, perforin, and FasL gene expression. 4-1BB signal stimulated higher proportions of CD56bright population to degranulate and express CD107a; however, it could not recover killing activity against K562 targets. Our data could not show major promotion in activity of all NK subpopulations. Due to great heterogeneity of NK cells, more investigation is needed to draw a comprehensive conclusion.