Research ArticleASTHMA

Natural killer cell–mediated inflammation resolution is disabled in severe asthma

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Science Immunology  10 Mar 2017:
Vol. 2, Issue 9, eaam5446
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aam5446

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NK cells in severe asthma—Failed resolution

Anti-inflammatory corticosteroids are a first line of defense against many types of asthma, but patients with severe asthma do not frequently respond to this therapy. Duvall et al. now report that this lack of response may be due in part to defects in natural killer (NK) cells, which are important mediators of inflammation resolution. They found that NK cells from patients with severe asthma had impaired killing and that corticosteroid exposure further inhibited the function of these cells, whereas the proresolving mediator LXA4 preserved NK cell effector mechanisms. Therefore, corticosteroids may be a counterproductive therapy in patients with severe asthma, and specifically activating NK cells may provide an alternate therapeutic target.

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