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The upside of natural killers

Natural killer (NK) cells, originally so named because they have the capacity to kill other cells without activation, can be licensed and educated to regulate tissue homeostasis. This notion has recently been shown in reproduction—in both normal physiology by Hanna et al. and severe pathophysiology (preeclampsia) by Hiby et al.

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Figure 1: A schematic diagram illustrating decidual NK cells as switchboards, licensed and educated to control trophoblast invasion and vascular remodeling and to interact with dendritic cells within the framework of an 'immunostimulatory synapse'.

Kim Caesar

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Karimi, K., Blois, S. & Arck, P. The upside of natural killers. Nat Med 14, 1184–1185 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/nm1108-1184

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