Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren group

Our group has a long-standing interest in exploring NK cells and other immune cells in the context of human viral infections and cancer.

Studies in our group involve phenotypic and functional characterization of immune cells, including NK cells, in the context of virus infections and cancer. Studies also involve the chacterization of immunity following vaccination. One particular interest is focused towards immune responses against flaviviruses, such as Denguevirus, Tick-borne encephalitis virus, Japanese encephalitis virus and Zika virus as well as the flaviviurs related hepatitis C virus. A focus is also directed towards hantavirus infections causing severe hemorrhagic fever. In the case of human cancer, we are interested in exploring tissue-resident immune cells including NK cells, intratumoral immune cells including NK cells, as well as using NK cells in therapeutic settings. In the latter settings, in particular in the context of hematological malignancies.

Keywords: NK cells, innate immunity, virus, cancer, hematology, immunotherapy

Group members

Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren, Professor

Marie Löfling, Research assoicate

Kim Blom, Post doc

Angelica Cuapio, Post doc

Tyler Sandberg, PhD student

Financial support

  • Swedish Research Council
  • Swedish Cancer Society
  • Tobias Foundation
  • Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research
  • Karolinska Institutet
  • Stockholm County Council
  • Vinnova

Recent publications

Complete Remission with Reduction of High-Risk Clones following Haploidentical NK-Cell Therapy against MDS and AML.
Björklund A, Carlsten M, Sohlberg E, Liu L, Clancy T, Karimi M, et al
Clin. Cancer Res. 2018 Apr;24(8):1834-1844


Natural killer cell-mediated immunosurveillance of human cancer.
Malmberg K, Carlsten M, Björklund A, Sohlberg E, Bryceson Y, Ljunggren H
Semin. Immunol. 2017 06;31():20-29

Immune selection during tumor checkpoint inhibition therapy paves way for NK-cell "missing self" recognition.
Malmberg K, Sohlberg E, Goodridge J, Ljunggren H
Immunogenetics 2017 08;69(8-9):547-556

Human hantavirus infection elicits pronounced redistribution of mononuclear phagocytes in peripheral blood and airways.
Scholz S, Baharom F, Rankin G, Maleki K, Gupta S, Vangeti S, et al
PLoS Pathog. 2017 Jun;13(6):e1006462

Composition and functionality of the intrahepatic innate lymphoid cell-compartment in human nonfibrotic and fibrotic livers.
Forkel M, Berglin L, Kekäläinen E, Carlsson A, Svedin E, Michaëlsson J, et al
Eur. J. Immunol. 2017 08;47(8):1280-1294

Prospects for induction of CD8 T cell-mediated immunity to Zika virus infection by yellow fever virus vaccination.
Blom K, Sandberg J, Loré K, Ljunggren H
J. Intern. Med. 2017 09;282(3):206-208

Cytomegalovirus-Driven Adaptive-Like Natural Killer Cell Expansions Are Unaffected by Concurrent Chronic Hepatitis Virus Infections.
Malone D, Lunemann S, Hengst J, Ljunggren H, Manns M, Sandberg J, et al
Front Immunol 2017 ;8():525

Marquardt N, Ljunggren H, Michaëlsson J
J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 2017 Jul;140(1):318

Differences in Granule Morphology yet Equally Impaired Exocytosis among Cytotoxic T Cells and NK Cells from Chediak-Higashi Syndrome Patients.
Chiang S, Wood S, Tesi B, Akar H, Al-Herz W, Ammann S, et al
Front Immunol 2017 ;8():426

Contribution of inhibitory receptor TIGIT to NK cell education.
He Y, Peng H, Sun R, Wei H, Ljunggren H, Yokoyama W, et al
J. Autoimmun. 2017 Jul;81():1-12


Human lung natural killer cells are predominantly comprised of highly differentiated hypofunctional CD69CD56 cells.
Marquardt N, Kekäläinen E, Chen P, Kvedaraite E, Wilson J, Ivarsson M, et al
J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 2017 Apr;139(4):1321-1330.e4

NK Cell Responses to Human Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus Infection.
Blom K, Braun M, Pakalniene J, Lunemann S, Enqvist M, Dailidyte L, et al
J. Immunol. 2016 10;197(7):2762-71

Nonreversible MAIT cell-dysfunction in chronic hepatitis C virus infection despite successful interferon-free therapy.
Hengst J, Strunz B, Deterding K, Ljunggren H, Leeansyah E, Manns M, et al
Eur. J. Immunol. 2016 09;46(9):2204-10

Emerging insights into natural killer cells in human peripheral tissues.
Björkström N, Ljunggren H, Michaëlsson J
Nat. Rev. Immunol. 2016 04;16(5):310-20

In vivo engineering of mobilized stem cell grafts with the immunomodulatory drug FTY720 for allogeneic transplantation.
Lakshmikanth T, Heuts F, Muvva S, Wallin R, Persson A, Fauriat C, et al
Eur. J. Immunol. 2016 07;46(7):1758-69

Critical Role of CD2 Co-stimulation in Adaptive Natural Killer Cell Responses Revealed in NKG2C-Deficient Humans.
Liu L, Landskron J, Ask E, Enqvist M, Sohlberg E, Traherne J, et al
Cell Rep 2016 05;15(5):1088-1099

Naive Donor NK Cell Repertoires Associated with Less Leukemia Relapse after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.
Björklund A, Clancy T, Goodridge J, Béziat V, Schaffer M, Hovig E, et al
J. Immunol. 2016 Feb;196(3):1400-11

Polyclonal Expansion of NKG2C(+) NK Cells in TAP-Deficient Patients.
Béziat V, Sleiman M, Goodridge J, Kaarbø M, Liu L, Rollag H, et al
Front Immunol 2015 ;6():507

Diversification and Functional Specialization of Human NK Cell Subsets.
Cichicki F, Schlums H, Theorell J, Tesi B, Miller J, Ljunggren H, et al
Curr. Top. Microbiol. Immunol. 2016 ;395():63-94

Next generation partnerships in translational science and medicine: Partnerships between academics, big pharma, biotech firms, philanthropists and patients look set to change the way science advances.
Ljunggren H, Chien K
EMBO Rep. 2015 Oct;16(10):1246-9

Dear Readers of Scandinavian Journal of Immunology and ECI2015 Attendees.
Jonsson R, Ljunggren H
Scand. J. Immunol. 2015 Sep;82(3):161-2

High-resolution determination of human immune cell signatures from fine-needle liver aspirates.
Hengst J, Theorell J, Deterding K, Potthoff A, Dettmer A, Ljunggren H, et al
Eur. J. Immunol. 2015 Jul;45(7):2154-7

Cytomegalovirus infection drives adaptive epigenetic diversification of NK cells with altered signaling and effector function.
Schlums H, Cichocki F, Tesi B, Theorell J, Beziat V, Holmes T, et al
Immunity 2015 Mar;42(3):443-56

Cutting edge: identification and characterization of human intrahepatic CD49a+ NK cells.
Marquardt N, Béziat V, Nyström S, Hengst J, Ivarsson M, Kekäläinen E, et al
J. Immunol. 2015 Mar;194(6):2467-71

Specificity and dynamics of effector and memory CD8 T cell responses in human tick-borne encephalitis virus infection.
Blom K, Braun M, Pakalniene J, Dailidyte L, Béziat V, Lampen M, et al
PLoS Pathog. 2015 Jan;11(1):e1004622

NK cell activation in human hantavirus infection explained by virus-induced IL-15/IL15Rα expression.
Braun M, Björkström N, Gupta S, Sundström K, Ahlm C, Klingström J, et al
PLoS Pathog. 2014 Nov;10(11):e1004521

Increased risk for lymphoma following hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome.
Klingström J, Granath F, Ekbom A, Björkström N, Ljunggren H
Clin. Infect. Dis. 2014 Oct;59(8):1130-2

Tracing dynamic expansion of human NK-cell subsets by high-resolution analysis of KIR repertoires and cellular differentiation.
Béziat V, Traherne J, Malmberg J, Ivarsson M, Björkström N, Retière C, et al
Eur. J. Immunol. 2014 Jul;44(7):2192-6

Effects of HDV infection and pegylated interferon α treatment on the natural killer cell compartment in chronically infected individuals.
Lunemann S, Malone D, Grabowski J, Port K, Béziat V, Bremer B, et al
Gut 2015 Mar;64(3):469-82

Immunomodulatory activity of commonly used drugs on Fc-receptor-mediated human natural killer cell activation.
Theorell J, Gustavsson A, Tesi B, Sigmundsson K, Ljunggren H, Lundbäck T, et al
Cancer Immunol. Immunother. 2014 Jun;63(6):627-41

Academia and big pharma United.
Ljunggren H
Sci Transl Med 2014 Jan;6(217):217ed1

Angiostatic effects of NK cell-derived IFN-γ counteracted by tumour cell Bcl-xL expression.
Wallin R, Sundquist V, Bråkenhielm E, Cao Y, Ljunggren H, Grandien A
Scand. J. Immunol. 2014 Feb;79(2):90-7

Angiostatic effects of NK cell-derived IFN-γ counteracted by tumour cell Bcl-xL expression.
Wallin R, Sundquist V, Bråkenhielm E, Cao Y, Ljunggren H, Grandien A
Scand. J. Immunol. 2014 Feb;79(2):90-7

Compromised function of natural killer cells in acute and chronic viral hepatitis.
Lunemann S, Malone D, Hengst J, Port K, Grabowski J, Deterding K, et al
J. Infect. Dis. 2014 May;209(9):1362-73

Infectious Disease Medicine