Characterization of a T cell line bearing natural killer receptors and capable of creating psoriasis in a SCID mouse model system

Brian J. Nickoloff, Brian Bonish, Barbara Bei Huang, Steven A. Porcelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


T cells bearing natural killer receptors (NKRs) such as CD94 and CD161 are present in psoriasis. These immunocytes express several receptors for both classical and non-classical class I MHC molecules. Whether T cells bearing NKRs in psoriatic lesions represent immunoregulatory versus pathogenic immunocytes or are just bystander cells is unclear. To address this issue, a CD94+/CD161+ T cell line was established from a psoriatic patient using IL-2/superantigens, and the interaction between NK-T cells and keratinocytes was characterized using in-vitro and in-vivo assays. Upon incubation between NK-T cells and CD1d positive keratinocytes, high levels of IFN-γ and IL-13 were produced. Cytokine production was inhibited by a mAb against CD1d, implicating recognition of this surface molecule in the T cell response. Furthermore when this line was injected into pre-psoriatic skin engrafted onto a SCID mouse, a psoriatic plaque was created. The hyperplastic epidermal keratinocytes diffusely expressed CD1d, and were infiltrated by CD161+ T cells. RNase protection assay revealed predominantly IFN-γ and IL-15 mRNAs, with barely detectable IL-13 mRNA in the acute lesion. These in-vivo findings demonstrated that this T cell line was pathogenic by creating a psoriatic plaque. The in-vitro results support a pathophysiologic role for interaction between T cells expressing NKRs and CD1d positive keratinocytes, with subsequent production of IFN-γ. Upon injection in-vivo, the cytokine network produced was characterized by an immunological response polarized towards Th1 rather than Th2 cytokines. Thus, this pathogenic cell line provides evidence that T cells bearing NKRs can directly provoke a Th1 disease such as psoriasis. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-225
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Dermatological Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Natural killer receptors
  • Psoriasis
  • SCID mouse model system
  • T cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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