Cross-talk between NK cells and dendritic cells (DCs) is important in Th1 immune responses, including antitumor immunity and responses to infections. DCs also play a crucial role in polarizing Th2 immunity, but the impact of NK cell-DC interactions in this context remains unknown. In this study, we stimulated human monocyte-derived DCs in vitro with different pathogen-associated molecules: LPS or polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid, which polarize a Th1 response, or soluble egg Ag from the helminth worm Schistosoma mansoni, a potent Th2-inducing Ag. Th2-polarizing DCs were functionally distinguishable from Th1-polarizing DCs, and both showed distinct morphology and dynamics from immature DCs. We then assessed the outcome of autologous NK cells interacting with these differently stimulated DCs. Confocal microscopy showed polarization of the NK cell microtubule organizing center and accumulation of LFA-1 at contacts between NK cells and immature or Th2-polarizing DCs but not Th1-polarizing DCs, indicative of the assembly of an activating immune synapse. Autologous NK cells lysed immature DCs but not DCs treated with LPS or polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid as reported previously. In this study, we demonstrated that NK cells also degranulated in the presence of Th2-polarizing DCs. Moreover, time-lapse live-cell microscopy showed that DCs that had internalized fluorescently labeled soluble egg Ag were efficiently lysed. Ab blockade of NK cell-activating receptors NKp30 or DNAM-1 abrogated NK cell lysis of Th2-polarizing DCs. Thus, these data indicate a previously unrecognized role of NK cell cytotoxicity and NK cell-activating receptors NKp30 and DNAM-1 in restricting the pool of DCs involved in Th2 immune responses.
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