Natural killer (NK) cells are the predominant leukocyte in first trimester decidua and play a role in vascular remodelling through interferon gamma (IFNγ) secretion. Membrane expression of the killer immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) KIR2DL4 on peripheral blood NK (pNK) cells is controlled by the 9A/10A transmembrane genetic polymorphism. On peripheral NK cells (pNK), KIR2DL4 can only be detected on the membrane of cells from individuals with at least one copy of the 10A allele and ligation of KIR2DL4 results in IFNγ secretion. In this study, we assessed KIR2DL4 expression and IFNγ secretion as a result of KIR2DL4 ligation, by decidual NK (dNK) cells. The 9A/10A transmembrane polymorphism was shown to control KIR2DL4 expression by dNK, as previously shown for pNK cells. Freshly isolated dNK cells from subjects with at least one 10A allele expressed KIR2DL4 whereas those from 9A homozygous subjects did not. Although freshly isolated dNK did not secrete IFNγ in response to KIR2DL4 ligation regardless of KIR2DL4 genotype, activation by in vitro culture with IL-2 enabled dNK cells from individuals with at least one 10A allele, but not those without a 10A allele, to secrete IFNγ in response to KIR2DL4 ligation. This study confirms that expression of KIR2DL4 by dNK is dependent on the 9A/10A polymorphism and that this polymorphism influences IFNγ secretion by dNK cells.
Goodridge, J. P., Lathbury, L., John, E., Charles, A., Christiansen, F., & Witt, C. S. (2009). The genotype of the NK cell receptor, KIR2DL4, influences INFγ secretion by decidual natural killer cells. Molecular Human Reproduction, 15(8), 489-497. https://doi.org/10.1093/molehr/gap039