The interaction of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) with natural killer (NK) cells is traditionally thought of as a static inhibitory model, whereby resting MSCs inhibit NK cell effector function. Here, we use a dynamic in vitro system of poly(I:C) stimulation to model the interaction of NK cells and tissue-resident MSCs in the context of infection or tissue injury. The experiments suggest a time-dependent system of regulation and feedback, where, at early time points, activated MSCs secrete type I interferon to enhance NK cell effector function, while at later time points TGF-β and IL-6 limit NK cell effector function and terminate inflammatory responses by induction of a regulatory senescent-like NK cell phenotype. Importantly, feedback of these regulatory NK cells to MSCs promotes survival, proliferation, and pro-angiogenic properties. Our data provide additional insight into the interaction of stromal cells and innate immune cells and suggest a model of time-dependent MSC polarization and licensing.
Keywords: Poly(I:C); TGF-β; TLR 3; mesenchymal stromal cell polarization; mucosal tissue; natural killer cell activation; senescence; type I interferon; viral infection.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.