NK cells (natural killer cells) being a part of the innate immune system have been shown to be involved in immunoregulation of autoimmune diseases. Previously we have shown that HINT1/Hsp70 treatment induced regulatory NK cells ameliorating experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) course and CD4+ T cells proliferation. NK cells were isolated from mice treated with HINT1/Hsp70 and co-cultured with proteolipid protein (PLP)-stimulated CD4+ T cells isolated from EAE mice. Cell proliferation was assessed by thymidine uptake, cytotoxicity by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release assay and fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis, protein expression by Western blot, mRNA by quantitative RT-PCR. Gene related to anergy in lymphocytes (GRAIL) expression was downregulated by specific siRNA and GRAIL overexpression was induced by pcDNA-GRAIL transfection. HINT1/Hsp70 pretreatment of EAE SJL/J mice ameliorated EAE course, suppressed PLP-induced T cell proliferation by enhancing T cell expression of GRAIL as GRAIL downregulation restored T cell proliferation. HINT1/Hsp70 treatment induced immunoregulatory NK cells which inhibited PLP-stimulated T cell proliferation not depending on T cell necrosis and apoptosis. This immunoregulatory NK cell function depended on NK cell expression of GRAIL as GRAIL downregulation diminished inhibition of NK cell suppression of T cell proliferation. Similarly GRAIL overexpression in NK cells induced their regulatory function. HINT1/Hsp70 treatment generated regulatory NK cells characterized by expression of GRAIL.
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