NKT Cell Subsets Can Exert Opposing Effects in Autoimmunity, Tumor Surveillance and Inflammation

Author(s): Rachael Viale, Randle Ware, Igor Maricic, Varun Chaturvedi, Vipin Kumar

Journal Name: Current Immunology Reviews (Discontinued)

Volume 8 , Issue 4 , 2012


The innate-like natural killer T (NKT) cells are essential regulators of immunity. These cells comprise at least two distinct subsets and recognize different lipid antigens presented by the MHC class I like molecules CD1d. The CD1ddependent recognition pathway of NKT cells is highly conserved from mouse to humans. While most type I NKT cells can recognize αGalCer and express a semi-invariant T cell receptor (TCR), a major population of type II NKT cells reactive to sulfatide utilizes an oligoclonal TCR. Furthermore TCR recognition features of NKT subsets are also distinctive with almost parallel as opposed to perpendicular footprints on the CD1d molecules for the type I and type II NKT cells respectively. Here we present a view based upon the recent studies in different clinical and experimental settings that while type I NKT cells are more often pathogenic, they may also be regulatory. On the other hand, sulfatidereactive type II NKT cells mostly play an inhibitory role in the control of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Since the activity and cytokine secretion profiles of NKT cell subsets can be modulated differently by lipid ligands or their analogs, novel immunotherapeutic strategies are being developed for their differential activation for potential intervention in inflammatory diseases.

Keywords: CD1, cancer, glycolipids, NKT cells, sulfatide, Th1/Th17

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Article Details

Year: 2012
Published on: 07 January, 2013
Page: [287 - 296]
Pages: 10
DOI: 10.2174/1573395511208040004
Price: $65

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