Natural killer cells in patients with allergic diseases

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Abstract

Natural killer (NK) cells not only exert cytotoxic activity against tumor cells or infected cells but also act to regulate the function of other immune cells through secretion of cytokines and chemokines or cell contact–dependent mechanisms. NK cells are able to polarizein vitrointo 2 functional distinct subsets, NK1 or NK2 cells, which are analogous to the T-cell subsets TH1 or TH2. In addition, a regulatory NK cell subset has been described that secretes IL-10, shows antigen-specific T-cell suppression, and suppresses IgE production. Although it has been demonstrated that NK cells play important roles in autoimmunity, cancer, transplantation, and pregnancy, the role of NK cells in allergy has not been extensively discussed. This review aims to discuss our understanding of NK cells and NK cell subsets in allergic inflammation and IgE regulation.

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