Immunomodulatory effects of cytokine-induced expansion of cytotoxic lymphocytes in a mouse model of lupus-like disease

Seth D. Reighard, Durga Krishnamurthy, Hilal Cevik, David E. Ochayon, Ayad Ali, Harsha Seelamneni, Hermine I. Brunner, Stephen N. Waggoner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background aims: Certain therapies (e.g., daclizumab) that promote expansion of natural killer (NK) cells are associated with clinical amelioration of disease in the context of multiple sclerosis and associated mouse models. The clinical benefits are putatively attributable to an enhanced capacity of NK cells to kill activated pathogenic T cells. Whether a parallel approach will also be effective in systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), a multi-organ autoimmune disease driven by aberrant responses of self-reactive T and B cells, is unclear. Methods: In the present study, the authors assess the therapeutic impact of IL-2- and IL-15-based strategies for expanding NK cells on measures of lupus-like disease in a mouse model. Results: Unexpectedly, cytokine-mediated expansion of cytotoxic lymphocytes aggravated immunological measures of lupus-like disease. Depletion studies revealed that the negative effects of these cytokine-based regimens can largely be attributed to expansion of CD8 T cells rather than NK cells. Conclusions: These results provoke caution in the use of cytokine-based therapeutics to treat co-morbid cancers in patients with lupus and highlight the need for new methods to selectively expand NK cells to further assess their clinical value in autoimmune disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-45
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • CD8 T cell
  • IL-15
  • IL-2
  • natural killer
  • systemic lupus erythematosus
  • therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Transplantation
  • Cancer Research


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