Enhancement of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I expression leads to protection from natural killer (NK) cell recognition in several systems. MHC class I gene products are released from the cell surface and can be found in sera as soluble forms. To investigate the possible immunoregulatory role of soluble HLA (sHLA) in NK cell-target recognition, several sHLA antigens were studied for their ability to induce NK cell cytotoxicity modulation. NK cell-target recognition was inhibited by the addition of sHLA during the cytotoxicity assay. Our results indicate that sHLA molecules can down-regulate NK killing at the effector level. Moreover, different NK clones are able to specifically recognize different sHLA antigens. Kp43 molecules seem to be involved in the NK recognition of sHLA-B7.
- Natural killer cell clones
- Natural killer cell sensitivity
- Natural killer receptors
- Soluble HLA class I antigens