The roles of NK cells, surfactant protein D (SP-D), and IFN-γ, as well as the effect of ozone (O3) inhalation, were studied on recirculation of pulmonary dendritic cells (DC) to the mediastinal lymph nodes. O3 exposure and lack of SP-D reduced NK cell IFN-γ and lung tissue CCL21 mRNA expression and impaired DC homing to the mediastinal lymph nodes. Notably, addition of recombinant SP-D to naive mononuclear cells stimulated IFN-γ release in vitro. Because NKp46, a glycosylated membrane receptor, was necessary for dosedependent SP-D binding to NK cells in vitro and DC migration in vivo, we speculate that SP-D may constitutively stimulate IFN-γ production by NK cells, possibly via NKp46. This mechanism could then initiate the IFN-γ/IL-12 feedback circuit, a key amplifier of DC lymph node homing. Inhibition of this process during an acute inflammatory response causes DC retention in the peripheral lung tissue and contributes to injury.
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