Interleukin (IL)-15 plays an important role in the survival of human natural killer (NK) cells. We investigated IL-2/15 signaling in NK cell neoplasms from five patients and in five cell lines (NK-92, KHYG-1, SNK-6, HANK1 and MOTN-1) compared to mature peripheral NK cells from 10 healthy subjects. Apoptosis of NK cell lines was prevented by addition of IL-15 in vitro. Blocking IL-2/15Rβ on IL-2-stimulated NK-92 cells resulted in reduced expression of Bcl-X L and phosphorylated Stat5, which paralleled early apoptosis without altering Bcl-2 expression. These data add IL-2/15Rβ to the list of factors important for the survival of NK cell neoplasms.
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