Previous studies support the role of natural killer (NK) cells in controlling hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) progression. However, ambiguity remains about the multiplicity and the role of different NK cell subsets, as a pro-oncogenic function has been suggested. We performed phenotypic and functional characterization of NK cells infiltrating HCC, with the corresponding nontumorous tissue and liver from patients undergoing liver resection for colorectal liver metastasis used as controls. We identified a reduced number of NK cells in tumors with higher frequency of CD56(BRIGHT)CD16(-) NK cells associated with higher expression of NKG2A, NKp44, and NKp30 and downregulation of NKG2D. Liver-resident (CXCR6(+)) NK cells were reduced in the tumors where T-bet(hi)Eomes(lo) expression was predominant. HCCs showed higher expression of CD49a with particular enrichment in CD49a(+)Eomes(+) NK cells, a subset typically represented in the decidua and playing a proangiogenic function. Functional analysis showed reduced TNF-alpha production along with impaired cytotoxic capacity that was inversely related to CXCR6(-), T-bet(hi)Eomes(lo), and CD49a(+)Eomes(+) NK cells. In conclusion, we identified a subset of NK cells infiltrating HCC, including non-liver-resident cells that coexpressed CD49a and Eomes and showed reduced cytotoxic potential. This NK cell subset likely plays a regulatory role in proangiogenic function.
Intratumor Regulatory Noncytotoxic NK Cells in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma / Zecca, A; Barili, V; Rizzo, D; Olivani, A; Biasini, E; Laccabue, D; Dalla Valle, R; Ferrari, C; Cariani, E; Missale, G. - In: CELLS. - ISSN 2073-4409. - 10:3(2021). [10.3390/cells10030614]
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo su rivista|