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      GITR ligand provided by thrombopoietic cells inhibits NK cell antitumor activity.

      The Journal of Immunology Author Choice

      Blood Platelets, immunology, metabolism, Cell Line, Cell Line, Tumor, Cytotoxicity, Immunologic, genetics, Humans, Killer Cells, Natural, pathology, Megakaryocytes, Tumor Escape, Tumor Necrosis Factors, biosynthesis, physiology, Up-Regulation

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          Abstract

          Thrombocytopenia inhibits tumor growth and especially metastasis in mice, whereas additional depletion of NK cells reverts this antimetastatic phenotype. It has therefore been speculated that platelets may protect hematogenously disseminating tumor cells from NK-dependent antitumor immunity. Tumor cells do not travel through the blood alone, but are rapidly coated by platelets, and this phenomenon has been proposed to shield disseminating tumor cells from NK-mediated lysis. However, the underlying mechanisms remain largely unclear. In this study, we show that megakaryocytes acquire expression of the TNF family member glucocorticoid-induced TNF-related ligand (GITRL) during differentiation, resulting in GITRL expression by platelets. Upon platelet activation, GITRL is upregulated on the platelet surface in parallel with the α-granular activation marker P-selectin. GITRL is also rapidly mobilized to the platelet surface following interaction with tumor cells, which results in platelet coating. Whereas GITRL, in the fashion of several other TNF family members, is capable of transducing reverse signals, no influence on platelet activation and function was observed upon GITRL triggering. However, platelet coating of tumor cells inhibited NK cell cytotoxicity and IFN-γ production that could partially be restored by blocking GITR on NK cells, thus indicating that platelet-derived GITRL mediates NK-inhibitory forward signaling via GITR. These data identify conferment of GITRL pseudoexpression to tumor cells by platelets as a mechanism by which platelets may alter tumor cell immunogenicity. Our data thus provide further evidence for the involvement of platelets in facilitating evasion of tumor cells from NK cell immune surveillance.

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          Journal
          22649191
          10.4049/jimmunol.1103194

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