Natural killer cells in placentation and cancer: Implications for hypertension during pregnancy

Small, H. Y., Cornelius, D. C., Guzik, T. J. and Delles, C. (2017) Natural killer cells in placentation and cancer: Implications for hypertension during pregnancy. Placenta, 56, pp. 59-64. (doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2017.03.003) (PMID:28318556)

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Hypertension during pregnancy is the most common medical condition encountered during gestation. Despite this, knowledge of the mechanisms that underlie the disease and the development of new therapies are limited. Hypertension during pregnancy and some forms of cancer confer an increased risk to the development of cardiovascular disease later in life; one mechanism which may link these conditions is the involvement of natural killer (NK) cells. Whilst immunology and immunotherapy are well-developed areas in oncology; the complex mechanisms of the immune system in health and disease at the maternal-fetal interface are less well-defined. Natural killer (NK) cells have emerged as key immune cells involved in physiology and pathology of pregnancy. These small lymphocytes are present in the decidua (the uterine-specific uNK cells) and are distinct from peripheral NK cells. The uNK cell population plays a vital role in mediating trophoblast invasion and affecting decidual vascular remodelling whereas the role of the peripheral NK cell population during pregnancy is less well-defined. This review will give an overview of NK cell biology followed by a discussion of the current evidence for the role of uterine and peripheral NK cells at the maternal-fetal interface in health and disease. Furthermore, examples of NK cell research from cancer biology will be employed to inform future directions of research. By combining this knowledge from oncology where the field of immunotherapy has now matured into clinical trials; it is hopeful that new mechanisms can be elucidated to generate targets for similar therapeutic strategies for women with hypertensive pregnancies where interventions are needed.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Cancer, immunology, natural killer cells, placenta.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Delles, Professor Christian and Guzik, Professor Tomasz
Authors: Small, H. Y., Cornelius, D. C., Guzik, T. J., and Delles, C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Health
Journal Name:Placenta
ISSN (Online):1532-3102
Published Online:07 March 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.
First Published:First published in Placenta 56: 59-64
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
617771BHF centre of excellenceRhian TouyzBritish Heart Foundation (BHF)RE/13/5/30177RI CARDIOVASCULAR & MEDICAL SCIENCES
492454BHF 4 Year PhD ProgrammeAnna DominiczakBritish Heart Foundation (BHF)FS/12/66/30003RI CARDIOVASCULAR & MEDICAL SCIENCES