Multifaceted characterization of the biological and transcriptomic signatures of natural killer cells derived from cord blood and placental blood

Cancer Cell Int. 2022 Sep 24;22(1):291. doi: 10.1186/s12935-022-02697-6.


Background: Perinatal blood including umbilical cord blood and placental blood are splendid sources for allogeneic NK cell generation with high cytotoxicity of combating pathogenic microorganism and malignant tumor. Despite the generation of NK cells from the aforementioned perinatal blood, yet the systematical and detailed information of the biological and transcriptomic signatures of UC-NKs and P-NKs before large-scale clinical applications in disease remodeling is still largely obscure.

Methods: Herein, we took advantage of the "3IL"-based strategy for high-efficient generation of NK cells from umbilical cord blood and placental blood (UC-NKs and P-NKs), respectively. On the one hand, we conducted flow cytometry (FCM) assay and coculture to evaluate the subpopulations, cellular vitality and cytotoxic activity of the aforementioned NK cells. On the other hand, with the aid of RNA-SEQ and multiple bioinformatics analyses, we further dissected the potential diversities of UC-NKs and P-NKs from the perspectives of transcriptomes.

Results: On the basis of the "3IL" strategy, high-efficient NKs were generated from mononuclear cells (MNCs) in perinatal blood. P-NKs revealed comparable ex vivo expansion but preferable activation and cytotoxicity upon K562 cells over UC-NKs. Both of the two NKs showed diversity in cellular vitality and transcriptome including apoptotic cells, cell cycle, gene expression profiling and the accompanied multifaceted biological processes.

Conclusions: Our data revealed the multifaceted similarities and differences of UC-NKs and P-NKs both at the cellular and molecular levels. Our findings supply new references for allogeneic NK cell-based immunotherapy in regenerative medicine and will benefit the further exploration for illuminating the underlying mechanism as well.

Keywords: Cellular vitality; Cytotoxicity; Natural killer (NK) cells; Perinatal blood; Transcriptome analysis.