A Flow Cytometric NK Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity Assay to Evaluate Anticancer Immune Responses In Vitro
The immune system is able to detect and eliminate nascent and developing tumors. Thus, T lymphocytes of the adaptive immunity recognize cancer cells by detecting tumor-associated antigens, whereas certain innate immune cells scan for molecules that are mainly overexpressed on malignant and infected cells. The best example of the latter is natural killer (NK) cells. The activity of these immune cells is strictly governed by a balance between positive and negative signals provided by stress-regulated molecules that bind NK cell membrane receptors, such as the activatory receptor NKG2D. Given the key role of NK cells in eradicating cancer cells, the development of assays to study the cellular and molecular determinants of NK cell antitumor activity are of great relevance. In this chapter, we describe a flow cytometric in vitro assay to evaluate the cytotoxic activity of NK cells against a given target cell, including tumor cells. Moreover, this method is highly versatile, as it can be complemented with the use of antibodies blocking cell surface proteins (receptors or ligands) or a variety of chemical modulators, which allows the elucidation of molecules and signaling pathways that regulate NK cell anticancer function.
Key wordsNK cells Cancer immunosurveillance NKG2D Blocking antibodies
This work was supported by a Spanish grant from Instituto de Salud Carlos III (PI16/01485). S.L-H. holds a Severo Ochoa Fellowship by FICYT from Principado de Asturias, Spain (BP14–150).
- 14.Acebes-Huerta A, Lorenzo-Herrero S, Folgueras AR, Huergo-Zapico L, Lopez-Larrea C, Lopez-Soto A, Gonzalez S (2016) Drug-induced hyperploidy stimulates an antitumor NK cell response mediated by NKG2D and DNAM-1 receptors. Oncoimmunology 5(2):e1074378. https://doi.org/10.1080/2162402X.2015.1074378CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar