CD3-CD56+ NK cells were identified by flow cytometry after select

CD3-CD56+ NK cells were identified by flow cytometry after selection of single cells and lymphocytes,

exclusion of CD14+ monocytes, CD19+ B cells and EMA+ dead cells, and staining for CD3, CD56, find more and CD16 (Fig. 2A). Whereas the percentage of circulating NK cells and their CD16+ and CD16− subsets were not altered after HCV exposure (data not shown) several changes in NK cell phenotype were observed. First, the expression of CD122, the subunit of the IL-2 receptor that signals in response to IL-2 and IL-15, was analyzed.[17] In all but one healthcare worker without detectable viremia the frequency of CD122+ NK cells and the CD122 MFI peaked 2 weeks after HCV exposure (Supporting Fig. 2) and was significantly higher than baseline levels in a paired analysis (P = 0.008, Fig. 2B). Increased CD122 expression was followed by peak expression of the activating receptors NKp44 and NKp46 at week 4 (P = 0.039 and P = 0.023 for frequency and MFI of NKp44+ NK cells; P = 0.039 and P = 0.023 for frequency and MFI of LBH589 solubility dmso NKp46+ NK cells, Fig. 2C,D). Expression of the inhibitory receptor NKG2A peaked later, i.e., at week 6

after HCV exposure (Fig. 2E), and decreased by week 24 (P = 0.023 and P = 0.016 for frequency and MFI of NKG2A+ NK cells). The decrease in NKG2A expression on NK cells in the absence of detectable viremia contrasts with the high NKG2A expression levels that have been reported in chronic HCV infection.[15] To assess how the observed changes in NK cell phenotype affected NK cell cytotoxicity we studied the expression of the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and NK cell degranulation in response to MHC-I negative target cells. As shown in Fig. 3A,B for a paired analysis between peak and baseline expression, there was a significant increase in TRAIL expression and NK cell degranulation at week 4 after HCV exposure in all but one subject (P = 0.039 and P = 0.023 for the percentage and MFI of TRAIL+ NK cells; P = 0.016 and P = 0.04 for the percentage and MFI of CD107a+ NK cells, respectively). This early response was followed by an increase in the percentage of IFN-γ+ NK cells, which

peaked at week 6 (P = 0.039, Fig. 3C). The increase in the frequency of IFN-γ+ NK cells correlated with the increase in the frequency of TRAIL+ NK cells medchemexpress in a nonparametric Spearman correlation (rho = 0.81, P = 0.0154, Fig. 3D). Serial serum samples were tested for IFN-α, IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-10, IL-12, CCL2 (MCP-1), CCL3 (MIP1-β), CCL5 (RANTES), and CXCL10 (IP-10). Early increases were found for CCL3 (Fig. 4), CXCL10 (Fig. 5), and to a much lesser extent TNF-α (not shown). CCL3 serum levels (Fig. 4) peaked at week 2 after percutaneous exposure in four subjects (subjects 5, 7, 8, 11), at week 4 in four additional subjects (subjects 1, 2, 6, 9) and at week 7 in one subject (subject 4). The peak in this NK cell-recruiting chemokine[18] was related to the peak in NK cell degranulation, TRAIL production, and IFN-γ secretion in most subjects (Fig.

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