Activin A, a multifunctional cytokine of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) superfamily, can be produced by the diverse immune cells. NK cells in peripheral blood are one of the major immune cells applied to cancer therapy in recent years. However, whether activin A can be produced by natural killer (NK) cells and be involved in regulation of peripheral blood NK cells activities of mouse are not well characterized. Here, we found that activin type IIA and IIB receptors and signaling molecules Smad2, 3 were expressed in peripheral blood NK cells of mouse by flow cytometry and RT-PCR. The cultured blood NK cells of mouse not only produced activin βA chain protein by intracellular cytokine staining, but also secreted mature activin A protein by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and the production was promoted by IL-2. In addition, IL-2 as a positive control obviously promoted IFNγ production of mouse blood NK cells in vitro. However, activin A suppressed IFNγ production, but enhanced IL-2 synthesis and did not alter IL-10 production. Moreover, we found that activin A significantly suppressed the ability of NK cells to lyse target cells. These data revealed that blood NK cells of mouse were not only the target cells in response to activin A, but also the source of activin A, suggesting that activin A may play an important role in regulation of NK cells activities of mouse in an autocrine / paracrine manner.
Ma, C., Liu, Z., Shang, S., Jiang, L., Lv, X., Qi, Y., … Ge, J. (2019). Activin A regulates activities of peripheral blood natural killer cells of mouse in an autocrine and paracrine manner. Experimental Cell Research, 374(1), 114–121. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yexcr.2018.11.013