Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Are Targets for Allogeneic and Autologous Natural Killer (NK) Cells and Killing Is Partly Mediated by the Activating NK Receptor DNAM-1


Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) could be used to generate autologous cells for therapeutic purposes, which are expected to be tolerated by the recipient. However, iPSC-derived grafts are at risk of giving rise to teratomas in the host, if residuals of tumorigenic cells are not rejected by the recipient. We have analyzed the susceptibility of hiPSC lines to allogeneic and autologous natural killer (NK) cells. IL-2-activated, in contrast to resting NK cells killed hiPSC lines efficiently (P = 1.69 x 10(-39)). Notably, the specific lysis of the individual hiPSC lines by IL-2-activated NK cells was significantly different (P = 1.72 x 10(-6)) and ranged between 46 % and 64 % in 51Cr-release assays when compared to K562 cells. The hiPSC lines were killed by both allogeneic and autologous NK cells although autologous NK cells were less efficient (P=8.63 x 10(-6)). Killing was partly dependent on the activating NK receptor DNAM-1 (P = 8.22 x 10(-7)). The DNAM-1 ligands CD112 and CD155 as well as the NKG2D ligands MICA and MICB were expressed on the hiPSC lines. Low amounts of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I proteins, which serve as ligands for inhibitory and activating NK receptors were also detected. Thus, the susceptibility to NK cell killing appears to constitute a common feature of hiPSCs. Therefore, NK cells might reduce the risk of teratoma formation even after autologous transplantations of pluripotent stem cell-derived grafts that contain traces of pluripotent cells.

Authors Kruse V, Hamann C, Monecke S, Cyganek L, Elsner L, Hübscher D, Walter L, Streckfuss-Bömeke K, Guan K, Dressel R
Journal PloS one
Publication Date 2015;10(5):e0125544
PubMed 25950680
PubMed Central PMC4423859
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0125544

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