Killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) and their HLA-ligands in Italian paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH) patients

E. Cosentini, L. Gargiulo, P. Bruno, S. Lastraioli, A. Risitano, R. Camerlingo, V. Luongo, M. Serra, M. Sica, C. Garzillo, U. Giani, R. Notaro, F. Alfinito, G. Ruggiero, G. Terrazzano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH) is a haematopoietic disorder characterized by expansion of phosphatidylinositol glycan-A-defective progenitor(s). Immune-dependent mechanisms, likely involving a deranged T cell-dependent autoimmune response, have been consistently associated with the selection/dominance of PNH precursors. Natural killer (NK) lymphocytes might participate in PNH pathogenesis, but their role is still controversial. NK activity is dependent on the balance between activating and inhibiting signals. Key component in such regulatory network is represented by killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR). KIR are also involved in the regulation of adaptive cytotoxic T cell response and associated with autoimmunity. This study investigated on the frequency of KIR genes and their known human leukocyte antigen (HLA) ligands in 53 PNH Italian patients. We observed increased frequency of genotypes characterized by ≤2 activating KIR as well as by the presence of an inhibitory/activating gene ratio ≥3.5. In addition, an increased matching between KIR-3DL1 and its ligand HLA-Bw4 was found. These genotypes might be associated with lower NK-dependent recognition of stress-related self molecules; this is conceivable with the hypothesis that an increased availability of specific T cell targets, not cleared by NK cells, could be involved in PNH pathogenesis. These data may provide new insights into autoimmune PNH pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-327
Number of pages6
JournalTissue Antigens
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Immune-mediated disease
  • Killer immunoglobulin-like receptors
  • Killer immunoglobulin-like receptors/human leukocyte antigen ligand
  • Paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Genetics


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