Natural Killer Cells and Killer-Cell Immunoglobulin-Like Receptor Polymorphisms: Their Role in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

  • Jennifer Schellekens
  • Katia Gagne
  • Steven G. E. Marsh
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1109)


Natural killer (NK) cells are important effector cells in the early control of infected, malignant, and “nonself” cells. Various receptor families are involved in enabling NK cells to detect and efficiently eliminate these target cells. The killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) family is a set of receptors that are very polymorphic with regard to gene content, expression level, and expression pattern. KIRs are responsible for the induction of a NK cell alloreactive response through their interaction with HLA class I molecules. The role of NK cells in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has been studied for many years, and induction of antileukemic responses by donor NK cells has been reported. Conflicting data still exist on the exact circumstances in which the KIR repertoire affects and influences clinical outcome after HSCT. More large-scale studies are needed on well-defined cohorts to unravel the mechanism of action of the NK cell-mediated alloresponse in an HSCT setting.

Key words

NK cells KIR KIR genotyping KIR polymorphism HLA class I HSCT 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Schellekens
    • 1
  • Katia Gagne
    • 2
  • Steven G. E. Marsh
    • 3
  1. 1.Anthony Nolan Research Institute and UCL Cancer InstituteLondonUK
  2. 2.Etablissement Français du Sang and Université de Nantes, Immunovirologie et Polymorphisme Génétique NantesFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire HLA-EFSNantesFrance

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