Hepatocytes and IL-15: A favorable microenvironment for T cell survival and CD8+ T cell differentiation
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Human intrahepatic lymphocytes are enriched in CD1d-unrestricted T cells coexpressing NKR. Although the origin of this population remains controversial, it is possible to speculate that the hepatic microenvironment, namely epithelial cells or the cytokine milieu, may play a role in its shaping. IL-15 is constitutively expressed in the liver and has a key role in activation and survival of innate and tissue-associated immune cells. In this in vitro study, we examined whether hepatocyte cell lines and/or IL-15 could play a role in the generation of NK-like T cells. The results show that both HepG2 cells and a human immortalized hepatocyte cell line increase survival and drive basal proliferation of T cells. In addition, IL-15 was capable of inducing Ag-independent up-regulation of NKR, including NKG2A, Ig-like receptors, and de novo expression of CD56 and NKp46 in CD8+CD56- T cells. In conclusion, our study suggests that hepatocytes and IL-15 create a favorable microenvironment for T cells to growth and survive. It can be proposed that the increased percentage of intrahepatic nonclassical NKT cells could be in part due to a local CD8+ T cell differentiation.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - 2009 May 15|