During chronic inflammatory disorders, a persistent natural killer (NK) cell derangement is observed. While increased cell turnover is expected, little is known about whether and how NK-cell homeostatic balance is maintained. Here, flow cytometric analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells in chronic inflammatory disorders, both infectious and non-infectious, reveals the presence of a CD34+ CD226(DNAM-1) bright CXCR4+ cell population displaying transcriptional signatures typical of common lymphocyte precursors and giving rise to NK-cell progenies with high expression of activating receptors and mature function and even to α/β T lymphocytes. CD34+ CD226bright CXCR4+ cells reside in bone marrow, hardly circulate in healthy donors and are absent in cord blood. Their proportion correlates with the degree of inflammation, reflecting lymphoid cell turnover/reconstitution during chronic inflammation. These findings provide insight on intermediate stages of NK-cell development, a view of emergency recruitment of cell precursors, and upgrade our understanding and monitoring of chronic inflammatory conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)