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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 11, Issue 4, Pages 219-224
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09629350290000078

The effect of interleukin-15 on the expression of killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors on peripheral natural killer cells in human

1Department of Japanese Oriental Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, 2630 Sugitani, Toyama 930–0194, Japan
2Department of Integrated Japanese Oriental Medicine, School of Medicine, Gunma University, 3–39–22 Showa-machi, Gunma, Maebashi city 371–8511, Japan
3Department of Kampo Diagnosis, Institute of Natural Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, 2630 Sugitani, Toyama 930–0194, Japan
4Department of General Medicine, School of Medicine, Gunma University, 3–39–22 Showa-machi, Gunma, Maebashi city 371–8511, Japan

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Interleukin (IL)-15 has emerged as a key regulator of both natural killer (NK) cell differentiation and activation. The aim of the present study was to investigate the expansion of the population of cells expressing killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (CD158a and CD158b) in human peripheral lymphocytes by treatment with IL-15. One million peripheral lymphocytes were cultured in RPMI1640 medium alone or in medium containing IL-2 at 100 U/ml or IL-15 at 0.1, 1.0, or 10.0 ng/ml for 48 h. After each incubation, we assessed the natural killing activity and the population of CD16+CD158a+/b+ cells and CD8+CD158a+/b+ cells. IL-15 increased the NK activity and expanded the populations of CD16+CD158a+/b+ cells and CD8+CD158a+/b+ cells. These actions were dose dependent, and the effects of IL-15 at 1.0 ng/ml were close to those of IL-2 at 100 U/ml. These findings suggest that IL-15 induces the effector functions of resting NK cells throughout the body, and thereby plays a critical role in the activation of tissue-associated immune responses.