Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Human NK cells may be divided into a CD56(dim) subset and a CD56(bright) subset. In peripheral blood, CD56(dim) NK cells dominate, whereas in lymph nodes, CD56(bright) NK cells are more common. In this study we show that CD56(bright) NK cells accumulate within inflammatory lesions in a wide variety of clinical diseases affecting several different anatomical sites. We demonstrate that when activated by the monokines IL-12, IL-15, and IL-18, these NK cells promote TNF-alpha production by CD14(+) monocytes in a manner that is dependent on cell:cell contact. Conversely, CD14(+) monocytes synergize with monokines to promote IFN-gamma production by these NK cells. Again, this interaction is dependent on cell:cell contact. The experiments show that CD56(bright) NK cells accumulate in inflammatory lesions and, in the appropriate cytokine environment, can engage with CD14(+) monocytes in a reciprocal activatory fashion, thereby amplifying the inflammatory response. Such a positive feedback loop is likely to be important in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





6418 - 6426


Arthritis, Rheumatoid, CD56 Antigen, Cell Aggregation, Cell Communication, Cells, Cultured, Coculture Techniques, Cytokines, Humans, Immunophenotyping, Inflammation, Interferon-gamma, Killer Cells, Natural, Lipopolysaccharide Receptors, Lymphocyte Activation, Lymphocyte Subsets, Macrophage Activation, Monocytes, Organ Specificity