Hyporesponsiveness of natural killer cells and impaired inflammatory responses in critically ill patients

Minkyung Kim, Minjoo Kim, Hana Jeong, Jey Sook Chae, Young Sam Kim, Jae Gil Lee, Younsoo Cho, Jong Ho Lee

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: To investigate natural killer (NK) cell activity, circulating cytokine level and peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) cytokine production status in critically ill patients. Methods: Blood samples were collected <24h after admission from 24 intensive care unit (ICU) patients and 24 age-, sex-, and body mass index (BMI)-matched healthy controls. Serum cytokine concentrations and cytokine production by PBMCs and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated PBMCs were measured. Results: The ICU group showed lower NK cell activity than the controls under all conditions and an absence of interferon (IFN)-γ. After adjusting for triglycerides, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol, and glucose, the ICU group exhibited lower serum levels of albumin and interleukin (IL)-12 and higher leukocyte counts and hs-CRP and IL-6 levels than the controls. Non-stimulated PBMCs from ICU patients secreted significantly greater amounts of IL-6 and IL-1β than the controls; however, the production of IL-6, TNF-α and IL-1β in response to LPS stimulation was significantly lower in the ICU group. Conclusions: Significant reductions in NK cell activity and serum IL-12 level, an absence of serum IFN-γ, and decreased cytokine production from LPS-stimulated PBMCs indicate the hyporesponsiveness of NK cells and an impaired early phase inflammatory response in critically ill patients (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02565589 :). Retrospectively registered; October 1, 2015.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
JournalBMC Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 8

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Bio-Synergy Research Project (NRF-2012M3A9C4048762) of the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning through the National Research Foundation, Republic of Korea.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology


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