Accumulating evidence has indicated that natural killer cells (NK cells) play an important role in immune responses generated in the liver. However, the underlying molecular basis for local immune regulation is poorly understood. Mice were intraperitoneally injected with polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (PolyI:C) at a dose of 20 mg/kg body wt. The percentage and absolute number of NK cells in the liver were analysed with flow cytometry. LSECtin knockout mice and LSECtin cDNA plasmids were used for analyze the role of LSECtin in hepatic NK cell regulation in vivo. Here, we show that the C-type lectin LSECtin, a member of the DC-SIGN family, is a novel liver regulator for NK cells. LSECtin could bind to NK cells in a carbohydrate-dependent manner and could regulate the number of hepatic NK cells. In the NK cell-mediated acute liver injury model induced with PolyI:C, the exogenous expression of LSECtin accelerated NK cell-induced liver injury, whereas the absence of LSECtin ameliorated this condition. Our results reveal that LSECtin is a novel, liver-specific NK cell regulator that may be a target for the treatment of inflammatory diseases in the liver.
Keywords: Hepatic immunology; Liver; The natural killer cells.
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