Killer-Cell Immunoglobulin-Like Receptor Expression on Lymphocyte Subsets in Multiple Sclerosis Patients Treated with Interferon-β: Evaluation as Biomarkers for Clinical Response

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Both the adaptative and the innate immune systems interplay in multiple sclerosis (MS) pathogeny. Killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) are key regulators of the immune response, with activating and inhibitory isoforms.


In this study we analysed whether the expression of KIR isoforms is implicated in MS pathogenesis and in the therapeutic response to interferon (IFN)-β.


Peripheral blood samples were collected from 78 IFN-β-treated MS patients and 46 healthy controls (HC). KIR expression was evaluated by flow cytometry on natural killer (NK) and T cells.


The expression of KIRs on NK cells and T lymphocytes did not differ between MS patients and HC. IFN-β therapy decreased the expression of KIR2DL1/2DS1 and increased that of KIR2DL2/3 on NK cells. This therapy also reduced KIR2DL1/2DS1, KIR2DL2/2DL3 and KIR3DL2 expression on CD8+ T cells. The baseline evaluation of the percentage of circulating CD16+ NK cells was predictive of the clinical response to IFN-β; however, response to this therapy did not appear related to KIR expression.


This study shows that expression of KIR isoforms on NK and T lymphocytes correlated in different ways with IFN-β therapy, suggesting that KIR dynamics may be associated with the pathways involved in the mechanisms of action of IFN-β.

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