Indexed on: 28 Jun '14Published on: 28 Jun '14Published in: Cytotherapy
Graft-versus-host disease remains a major cause of death after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Cyclosporine (CsA) and mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) have been successfully used alone or in combination as prophylaxis for graft-versus-host disease. Although the effects of these drugs on T cells have been studied, little is known about the effects of both drugs on natural killer (NK) cells. We examined if the sensitivity of umbilical cord blood (CB) NK cells to MMF and/or CsA differs from their adult counterparts.An approach that was based on flow cytometry and real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to assess the effects of MMF, CsA and the combination of both drugs on the viability, activation, proliferation and cytotoxicity of peripheral blood (PB) and CB NK cells after culture with interleukin-2.MMF alone or together with CsA induced cell death of CB NK cells but not of PB NK cells. MMF and CsA had differential effects on NK cell activation but significantly reduced proliferation of CB NK cells. MMF reduced perforin expression by PB NK cells, whereas CsA alone or together with MMF drastically decreased degranulation of CB and PB NK cells. However, neither affected cytokine secretion by PB and CB NK cells.This study showed that CB NK cells were more sensitive to MMF and CsA than were PB NK cells. MMF and CsA had significant effects on NK cells that could jeopardize the beneficial effects of NK cells after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.