eISSN: 1644-4124
ISSN: 1426-3912
Central European Journal of Immunology
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vol. 44
Experimental immunology

Natural killer cells as participants in pathogenesis of rat experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE): lessons from research on rats with distinct age and strain

Jasmina Djuretić
Ivan Pilipović
Zorica Stojić-Vukanić
Gordana Leposavić

(Centr Eur J Immunol 2019; 44 (4): 337-356)
Online publish date: 2020/01/20
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Natural killer (NK) cells, influencing dendritic cell (DC)-mediated CD4+ lymphocyte priming in draining lymph nodes (dLNs) and controlling spinal cord (SC) infiltration with encephalitogenic CD4+T lymphocytes, modulate EAE (multiple sclerosis model). This study examined their putative contribution to age-related differences in EAE development in Dark Agouti (DA) (exhibiting age-related decrease in EAE susceptibility) and Albino Oxford (AO) (becoming susceptible to EAE with aging) rats. Aging increased NK cell number in dLNs from rats of both strains. In AO rats, but not in DA ones, it also increased the numbers of IFN--producing NK cells (important for DC activation) and activated/matured DCs, thereby increasing activated/matured DC/conventional Foxp3-CD4+ cell ratio and activated CD25+Foxp3-CD4+ cell number. Aging in DA rats diminished activated/matured DC/conventional Foxp3-CD4+ cell ratio and activated Foxp3-CD4+ cell number. However, MBP-stimulated CD4+ cell proliferation did not differ in dLN cell cultures from young and aged AO rats (as more favorable activated/matured DC/Foxp3-CD4+ cell ratio was abrogated by lower intrinsic CD4+ cell proliferative capacity and a greater regulatory CD25+Foxp3+CD4+ lymphocyte frequency), but was lower in those from aged compared with young DA rats. At SC level, aging shifted Foxp3-CD4+/cytotoxic CX3CR1+ NK cell ratio towards the former in AO rats, so it was less favorable in aged AO rats exhibiting prolonged neurological deficit compared with their DA counterparts. The study showed strain and age differences in number of IFN--producing NK cells in EAE rat dLNs, and suggested that their pathogenetic relevance depends on frequency and/or activity of other cells involved in CD4+ T cell (auto)immune response.

aging, strain differences, EAE, NK cells, dendritic cells

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