NK cells in central nervous system disorders.
NK cells are important players in immunity against pathogens and neoplasms. As a component of the innate immune system, they are one of the first effectors on sites of inflammation. Through their cytokine production capacities, NK cells participate in the development of a potent adaptive immune response. Furthermore, NK cells were found to have regulatory functions to limit and prevent autoimmunity via killing of autologous immune cells. These paradoxical functions of NK cells are reflected in CNS disorders. In this review, we discuss the phenotypes and functional features of peripheral and brain NK cells in brain tumors and infections, neurodegenerative diseases, acute vascular and traumatic damage, as well as mental disorders. We also discuss the implication of NK cells in neurotoxicity and neuroprotection following CNS pathology, as well as the crosstalk between NK cells and brain-resident immune cells.