Natural killer cells do not mediate facial motoneuron survival after facial nerve transection

Susanna C. Byram, Craig J. Serpe, Stephen B. Pruett, Virginia M. Sanders, Kathryn J. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


The goal of the current study was to determine if natural killer (NK) cells mediate facial motoneuron (FMN) survival following injury. Wild-type (WT), perforin/recombinase activating gene-2 knockout (pfp/RAG-2 KO), and common γ-chain (γc)/RAG-2 KO mice received a right facial nerve axotomy. In WT mice, FMN survival was 86±1.0% relative to the contralateral control side. In contrast, pfp/RAG-2 and γc/RAG-2 KO mice exhibited significant decreases in FMN survival (∼20% and ∼30%, respectively), relative to WT. Reconstitution of pfp/RAG-2 and γc/RAG-2 KO mice with normal NK cells alone, failed to restore FMN survival levels to those of WT, but did restore functional lytic activity against YAC-1 cells. Reconstitution of pfp/RAG-2 and γc/RAG-2 KO mice with splenocytes, and pfp/RAG-2 KO mice with CD4+ T-lymphocytes alone or in combination with NK cells, restored FMN survival levels to those of WT. Thus, NK cells appear to not be a component of immune cell-mediated rescue of motoneurons from axotomy induced cell death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-425
Number of pages9
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003



  • FMN
  • Facial nerve
  • Innate immunity
  • NK cells
  • Natural killer cells
  • Neuro-immune interactions
  • Neuroimmunology
  • Neuronal survival
  • Peripheral nerve injury
  • Reconstitution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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