Natural killer (NK) cells have antiviral and antitumor activity that could be harnessed for the treatment of infections and malignancies. To maintain cell viability and enhance antiviral and antitumor effects, NK cells are frequently treated with cytokines. Here we performed an extensive assessment of the effects of cytokines on the phenotype and function of human NK cells.We used cytometry by time-of-flight (CyTOF) to evaluate NK cell repertoire changes after stimulation with interleukin (IL)-2, IL-15 or a combination of IL- 12/IL-15/IL-18. To analyze the high dimensional CyTOF data, we used several statistical and visualization tools, including viSNE (Visualization of t-Distributed Stochastic Neighbor Embedding), Citrus (Cluster identification, characterization, and regression), correspondence analysis, and the Friedman-Rafsky test.All three treatments (IL-2, IL-15, and IL-12/IL-15/IL-18) increase expression of CD56 and CD69. The effects of treatment with IL-2 and IL-15 are nearly indistinguishable and characterized principally by increased expression of surface markers including CD56, NKp30, NKp44, and increased expression of functional markers, such as perforin, granzyme B, and MIP-1β. The combination of IL-12/IL-15/IL- 18 induces a profound shift in the repertoire structure, decreasing expression of CD16, CD57, CD8, NKp30, NKp46, and NKG2D, and dramatically increasing expression of IFN-γ.CyTOF provides insights into the effects of cytokines on the phenotype and function of NK cells, which could inform future research efforts and approaches to NK cell immunotherapy. There are several analytical approaches to CyTOF data, and the appropriate method should be carefully selected based on which aspect of the dataset is being explored. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
View details for DOI 10.1002/cyto.b.21500
View details for PubMedID 27933717