Frequency and phenotype of natural killer cells and natural killer cell subsets in bovine lymphoid compartments and blood

Carly A. Hamilton*, Suman Mahan, Charlotte R. Bell, Bernardo Villarreal-Ramos, Bryan Charleston, Gary Entrican, Jayne C. Hope

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (SciVal)
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Natural killer (NK) cells are widely distributed in lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues, but little is known about the recirculation of NK cells between blood and tissues. This is relevant to understanding recirculation in the steady-state and also for determining the roles for NK cells in vaccine-induced immunity and responses to infection. Therefore, the percentage of NK cells and their phenotype across peripheral blood, afferent lymph and lymph nodes in steady-state conditions was investigated in cattle using the pseudo-afferent lymphatic cannulation model. CD2+ CD25lo NK cells were the predominant subset of NK cells within the blood. In contrast, CD2 CD25hi NK cells were the main subset present within the skin-draining afferent lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes, indicating that CD2 NK cells are the principal NK cell subset trafficking to lymph nodes via the afferent lymphatic vessel. Furthermore, a low percentage of NK cells were present in efferent lymph, which were predominantly of the CD2 subset, indicating that NK cells can egress from lymph nodes and return to circulation in steady-state conditions. These compartmentalization data indicate that NK cells represent a population of recirculating lymphocytes in steady-state conditions and therefore may be important during immune responses to vaccination or infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-97
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Early online date07 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 06 Apr 2017


  • natural killer cells
  • recirculation


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