Tamara Krneta

Masters Student

krnetat@mcmaster.ca

BSc Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences - Molecular Biology Specialization, McMaster University

905-525-9140 extension 22778

 

 

 

 

Numerous reviews in the field of NK cell biology demonstrate the pivotal role that NK cells play in tumor rejection. Although these cell types were originally described based on their cytotoxic ability, we now know that NK cells are not necessarily born to kill. Both cellular interactions and the local environment in which the NK cell resides may influence its maturation. The tumor environment is an example of a localized site where NK cells are recruited to and may become dysfunctional. NK cells, which are present in tumor tissues, display a tumor associated NK cell phenotype characterized by decreased cytotoxicity, defective expression of activating receptors, and overexpression of inhibitory receptors.

The NK cells originally recruited to the tumor site are able to stimulate immune responses and aid in tumor destruction but eventually become influenced by mechanisms of immunosuppression. We believe that tumor associated macrophages play a large role in altering the functional capabilities of NK cells within a tumor. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are the main regulatory population of myeloid cells in the tumor and are characterized by their ability to promote tumor cell proliferation and metastasis. The aim of this study is to understand how tumor associated macrophages can effect NK cell phenotype and function within a tumor setting.