Are natural killer cells involved in multiple sclerosis aetiology? Evidences from NKp46/NCR1 receptor modulation in an observational study. J Neurol Sci. 2014. pii: S0022-510X(14)00491-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2014.07.045. [Epub ahead of print]
Natural killer (NK) cells are implicated in many autoimmune diseases but their role in multiple sclerosis (MS) remains still unknown. This study was aimed to evaluate the expression levels of a NK cell receptor (NCR1) in patients with diagnosis of MS. Particularly, the study took into account patients undergoing pharmacological therapy with interferon-beta or natalizumab and patients never treated since first-time diagnosed for MS. Expression levels of NCR1 receptor were evaluated in protein extracts of peripheral blood mononuclear cells performing western blot analysis. Our results show that MS patients display higher NCR1 expression levels than healthy controls. Moreover, patients with a first diagnosis of MS display the highest level of NCR1 when compared with patients pharmacologically treated with interferon-beta or natalizumab. Therefore, pharmacologically treated MS patients show a modulated NK cell expression.