Stem Cell Reports
Stem Cell Reports 2022 Mar 8; 17(3):633-648
Regeneration of amputated digit tips relies on mesenchymal progenitor cells and their differentiation into replacement bone and tissue stroma. Natural killer (NK) cells have well-characterized roles in antigen-independent killing of virally infected, pre-tumorous, or stressed cells; however, the potential for cytotoxic activity against regenerative progenitor cells is unclear. We identified NK cell recruitment to the regenerating digit tip, and NK cytotoxicity was observed against osteoclast and osteoblast progenitors. Adoptive cell transplants of spleen NK (SpNK) or thymus NK (ThNK) donor cells into immunodeficient mice demonstrated ThNK cell-induced apoptosis with a reduction in osteoclasts, osteoblasts, and proliferative cells, resulting in inhibition of regeneration. Adoptive transfer of NK cells deficient in NK cell activation genes identified that promotion of regeneration by SpNK cells requires Ncr1, whereas inhibition by ThNK cells is mediated via Klrk1 and perforin. Successful future therapies aimed at enhancing regeneration will require a deeper understanding of progenitor cell protection from NK cell cytotoxicity.
Dastagir, Nadjib; Beal, Zachery; and Godwin, James W, "Tissue origin of cytotoxic natural killer cells dictates their differential roles in mouse digit tip regeneration and progenitor cell survival." (2022). Faculty Research 2022. 22.