NK cells and their receptors in naive and rituximab-treated patients with anti-MAG polyneuropathy

Luana Benedetti, Monica Facco, Diego Franciotta, Chiara Dalla Torre, Marta Campagnolo, Marta Lucchetta, Elisa Boscaro, Mario Ermani, Massimo Del Sette, Tamara Berno, Laura Candiotto, Renato Zambello, Chiara Briani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Natural killer (NK) cells can bridge innate and acquired immunity, and play a role in autoimmunity. A few studies evaluated the distribution of NK cells and the expression of their receptors in chronic immune-mediated demyelinating polyneuropathies. We investigated NK cell distribution and NK cell receptor expression in 20 naïve patients with anti-MAG polyneuropathy (MAG-PN). Methods: Using flow cytometry, we analysed NK cells and a series of NK cell receptors in the peripheral blood of patients with MAG-PN, and, as controls, in patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating peripheral polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) and in healthy subjects. Six MAG-PN patients were also tested after rituximab treatment. Results: At baseline the percentage of NK cells did not differ among the groups. KIR2DL2 receptor expression in MAG-PN patients was higher, andCD94/NKG2A receptor expression in both MAG-PN and CIDP patients was lower than in healthy controls. These abnormalities did not correlate with any clinical or demographic variable. No modification was found after rituximab therapy. Conclusions: The data suggest that MAG-PN shows abnormalities in NK cell receptors that characterise other autoimmune diseases, and cannot help in differential diagnosiswith CIDP. The impairment of the relevant CD94/NKG2A inhibitory pathway, whichmight play a central role in the development and perpetuation of MAG-PN, warrants further functional investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-89
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 15 2013


  • Anti-MAG antibodies
  • CD94/NKG2A
  • IgM
  • Monoclonal gammopathy
  • Myelin associated glycoprotein
  • Natural killer (NK) cells
  • Rituximab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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