Natural killer cells in antifungal immunity

  • Invasive fungal infections are still an important cause of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients such as patients suffering from hematological malignancies or patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantion. In addition, other populations such as human immunodeficiency virus-patients are at higher risk for invasive fungal infection. Despite the availability of new antifungal compounds and better supportive care measures, the fatality rate of invasive fungal infection remained unacceptably high. It is therefore of major interest to improve our understanding of the host–pathogen interaction to develop new therapeutic approaches such as adoptive immunotherapy. As experimental methodologies have improved and we now better understand the complex network of the immune system, the insight in the interaction of the host with the fungus has significantly increased. It has become clear that host resistance to fungal infections is not only associated with strong innate immunity but that adaptive immunity (e.g., T cells) also plays an important role. The antifungal activity of natural killer (NK) cells has been underestimated for a long time. In vitro studies demonstrated that NK cells from murine and human origin are able to attack fungi of different genera and species. NK cells exhibit not only a direct antifungal activity via cytotoxic molecules but also an indirect antifungal activity via cytokines. However, it has been show that fungi exert immunosuppressive effects on NK cells. Whereas clinical data are scarce, animal models have clearly demonstrated that NK cells play an important role in the host response against invasive fungal infections. In this review, we summarize clinical data as well as results from in vitro and animal studies on the impact of NK cells on fungal pathogens.

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Author:Stanislaw Schmidt, Lars Tramsen, Thomas LehrnbecherORCiDGND
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in immunology
Publisher:Frontiers Media
Place of publication:Lausanne
Contributor(s):Steven Templeton
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2017
Date of first Publication:2017/11/22
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2018/05/03
Tag:Aspergillus; Candida; Cryptococcus; antifungal host response; invasive fungal infection; mucormycete; natural killer cell
Issue:Art. 1623
Page Number:10
First Page:1
Last Page:10
Copyright: © 2017 Schmidt, Tramsen and Lehrnbecher. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Institutes:Medizin / Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0