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Hepatic Tumor Microenvironments and Effects on NK Cell Phenotype and Function

1
School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College Dublin, D02 PN40 Dublin, Ireland
2
Department of Cancer Physiology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL 33626, USA
3
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Institutes of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02138, USA
4
School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, D02 PN40 Dublin, Ireland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(17), 4131; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20174131
Received: 2 August 2019 / Revised: 16 August 2019 / Accepted: 20 August 2019 / Published: 24 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Killer and NKT Cells)
The liver is a complex organ with critical physiological functions including metabolism, glucose storage, and drug detoxification. Its unique immune profile with large numbers of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells and significant innate lymphoid population, including natural killer cells, γ δ T cells, MAIT cells, and iNKTcells, suggests an important anti-tumor surveillance role. Despite significant immune surveillance in the liver, in particular large NK cell populations, hepatic cell carcinoma (HCC) is a relatively common outcome of chronic liver infection or inflammation. The liver is also the second most common site of metastatic disease. This discordance suggests immune suppression by the environments of primary and secondary liver cancers. Classic tumor microenvironments (TME) are poorly perfused, leading to accumulation of tumor cell metabolites, diminished O2, and decreased nutrient levels, all of which impact immune cell phenotype and function. Here, we focus on changes in the liver microenvironment associated with tumor presence and how they affect NK function and phenotype. View Full-Text
Keywords: liver; NK cells; colorectal cancer; colorectal liver metastasis; tumor microenvironment; exhaustion; hypoxia; lactic acid; adenosine; tryptophan; immune checkpoints; hepatocellular carcinoma; immunometabolism liver; NK cells; colorectal cancer; colorectal liver metastasis; tumor microenvironment; exhaustion; hypoxia; lactic acid; adenosine; tryptophan; immune checkpoints; hepatocellular carcinoma; immunometabolism
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Piñeiro Fernández, J.; Luddy, K.A.; Harmon, C.; O’Farrelly, C. Hepatic Tumor Microenvironments and Effects on NK Cell Phenotype and Function. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 4131.

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