Essential role of NK cells in IgG therapy for experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Wai Po Chong, Man To Ling, Yinping Liu, Rachel R. Caspi, Wai Man Wong, Wutian Wu, Wenwei Tu, Yu Lung Lau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Intravenous immunoglobulin has long been used in treating autoimmune diseases, although mechanisms remain uncertain. Activating Fcγ receptors are receptors of IgG and reported to be essential in intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) therapy. Therefore, we hypothesized natural killer (NK) cells, which express abundant activating Fcγ receptors, are the potential cellular target. In experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), we demonstrated that IgG suppressed disease development in intact, but not in NK cell depleted mice. Adoptive transfer of IgG-treated NK cell could protect mice against EAE, and suppressed interferon γ and interleukin 17 production. The percentage of CD4+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells was significantly increased. The increase of regulatory T cells was also observed in IgG-treated EAE mice but not in NK cell depleted mice. In vitro experiments confirmed that IgG-treated NK cells enhanced regulatory T cell induction from naïve CD4+ T cells. Interestingly, cells from draining lymph nodes produced more interleukin 2 after the adoptive transfer of IgG-treated NK cells. We neutralized interleukin 2 and the induction of CD4+Foxp3+ T cells by IgG-treated NK cells was significantly reduced. To our knowledge, we identified for the first time the critical role of NK cells in the mechanism of IgG-induced induction of Treg cells in treatment of autoimmunity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere60862
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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