NK cells, displaying early activation, cytotoxicity and adhesion molecules, are associated with mild dengue disease

Clin Exp Immunol. 2006 Feb;143(2):345-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2006.02996.x.


During the innate immune response against infections, Natural Killer (NK) cells are as important effector cells as are Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) generated after antigenic stimulation in the adaptative response. NK cells increase in numbers, after viral infection or vaccination. We investigated the NK cell and CD8 T lymphocyte status in 55 dengue infected patients. The NK (CD56+CD3-) and CD56+ T cell (CD56+CD3+) rates rise during the acute phase of disease. The majority of NK cells from dengue patients display early markers for activation (CD69, HLA-DR, and CD38) and cell adhesion molecules (CD44, CD11a) during the acute phase of disease. The intracellular cytotoxic granule, TIA-1, is also up-regulated early in NK cells. Most of these markers appear also on CD8+ T lymphocytes but during the late acute phase. Circulating IL-15 is elevated in a significant number of patients during early acute infection and its values were statistically correlated with NK frequencies and cytotoxic markers on NKs. We have therefore shown that dengue virus infection is very likely stimulating a cytotoxic response that may be efficient in controlling the virus in synergism with CD8+ T lymphocytes. Interestingly, the heightened CD56+CD3-, CD56+CD3+, CD56+TIA-1+ and CD56+CD11a+ cell rates are associated with mild dengue clinical manifestations and might indicate a good prognosis of the disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / immunology
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • CD11a Antigen / immunology
  • CD3 Complex / immunology
  • CD56 Antigen / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / immunology*
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic / immunology
  • Dengue / blood
  • Dengue / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / immunology
  • Interleukin-15 / blood
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / immunology
  • Receptors, IgG / immunology


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Biomarkers
  • CD11a Antigen
  • CD3 Complex
  • CD56 Antigen
  • CD69 antigen
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • Interleukin-15
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Receptors, IgG
  • TIAL1 protein, human