Compartment-specific expression of natural killer cell markers in renal transplantation: Immune profile in acute rejection
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Natural killer (NK) cells have been implicated in graft dysfunction. Here, we formulated hypothesis that distinct patterns of expression NK cells markers correlated with acute rejection in kidney transplantation. Therefore, we studied the pattern of NK cell markers CD56, CD57, and CD16 in different compartments of biopsies obtained from recipients diagnosed with acute graft rejection, with or without donor-specific antibodies (DSA). DSA-negative biopsies-from patients with acute T-cell mediated rejection (aTCMR) had an increased expression of CD56+ and CD57+ cells (P = 0.004 and P = 0.001) in the interstitial compartment in comparison with DSA-positive biopsies from patients acute antibody-mediated rejection (aABMR) with (aABMR C4d+) and without C4d deposition (aABMR C4d-). CD16+ cells was increased (P = 0.03) in the glomerular compartment in DSA-positive biopsies. We assume that CD16+ expression and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) in microvascular injury can be associated with aABMR. IFN-γ release from cytoplasmic granules of NK cell could be associated with aTCMR. Our findings suggest that NK cells need to be carefully evaluated because variations in NK cell marker expression might imply the involvement of different immune system pathways in graft rejection.