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Natural killer (NK) cells have shown to play a critical, but as yet poorly defined, role in the process by which the immune system controls tumor progression. Indeed, NK cell-based immunotherapy, particularly NK cell adoptive transfer therapy, has become a very attractive cancer weapon against multiple types of cancers such as metastatic and hematological cancers. Unfortunately, the implementation of these therapies has been challenged by the existence of immunosuppression mechanisms that have prevented NK cell functionality. Additionally, the development of protocols to obtain purified and functional NK cells has faced some difficulties due to the limitations in the numbers of cells that can be obtained and the development of an exhaustion phenotype with impaired proliferative and functional capabilities during lengthy ex vivo NK cell expansion protocols. Thus, the development of new strategies to obtain a rapid expansion of highly functional NK cells without the appearance of exhaustion is still much needed. This is particularly true in the case of mouse NK cells, a surrogate commonly used to evaluate NK cell biology and human NK cell-based immunotherapeutic alternatives. Here, we describe a feasible and rapid protocol to produce strongly activated mouse NK cells in vivo taking advantage of the hydrodynamic delivery of a plasmid that contains interleukin-15, a cytokine known to cause NK cell expansion and activation, fused with the binding domain of the IL-15Rα ("sushi" domain) and apolipoprotein A-I.

Original publication





Publication Date





257 - 275


Program of Immunology and Immunotherapy, CIMA Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain; Navarra Institute for Health Research (IDISNA), Pamplona, Spain; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Cáncer (CIBERONC), Madrid, Spain.


Killer Cells, Natural, Animals, Mice, Interleukin-15, Cell Separation