The Role of NK

Dr. Ioannis John Toliopoulos, PhD, Post Doc, Reproductive immunology

The absolute number in the peripheral blood, the activation of the NK cells, and their number in the endometrium are 3 different indicators in reproductive medicine, and in fact very important in Infertility, in miscarriage, and in the failed IVF trials.

NK cells are a subpopulation of lymphocytes that express the CD56 + antigen on their cell surface. NKs are large granulocytes that originate directly from the bone marrow and circulate peripherally before entering specific tissues. NK is the predominant population in the endometrium and perishable (decidua) in early pregnancy. So when the NK is elevated in early pregnancy, these cells see the fetus as a foreign body and kill it or block the implant, resulting in miscarriage or recurrent pregnancies and ‘miscarriages’.

When even one of the above 3 biomarkers is beyond the normal range, then statistically the probability is very high that there is infertility in the couple, but also IVF fails, and the woman can miscarry the fetus up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. , In conclusion, NKs are considered to play a major role in regulating trophoblast cell movement.

The NK cell activation test measures the function-aggression of killing these cells, but also the ability of interleukin 2 (IL2) to stimulate and immunoglobulin γ (IVIg) to suppress the action of NK cells against the cancer line (K562 ), used as a ‘target’.

Global scientific studies have shown that increased peripheral and endometrial activity of NK cells is present in women who have had six miscarriages or failed IVF. Indicatively, about 40% of women who underwent IVF with a diagnosis of endometriosis had increased NK activity. The examination of women for the activation of NK, allows specialized scientists to apply a targeted therapeutic approach in order to regulate the function of NK cells.

Due to the difference of these 3 tests of NK cells, specialized scientists are necessary to evaluate the results and the targeted application of the treatment protocols because ONLY then can a successful and safe pregnancy be achieved.