Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Invariant NKT (iNKT) cells are a subset of highly conserved immunoregulatory T cells that modify a variety of immune responses, including alloreactivity. Central to their function is the interaction of the invariant TCR with glycosphingolipid (GSL) ligands presented by the nonpolymorphic MHC class I molecule CD1d and their ability to secrete rapidly large amounts of immunomodulatory cytokines when activated. Whether iNKT cells, like NK and conventional T cells, can directly display alloreactivity is not known. We show in this study that human iNKT cells and APC can establish a direct cross-talk leading to preferential maturation of allogeneic APC and a considerably higher reactivity of iNKT cells cultured with allogeneic rather that autologous APC. Although the allogeneic activation of iNKT cells is invariant TCR-CD1d interaction-dependent, GSL profiling suggests it does not involve the recognition of disparate CD1d/GSL complexes. Instead, we show that contrary to previous reports, iNKT cells, like NK and T cells, express killer Ig receptors at a frequency similar to that of conventional T cells and that iNKT cell allogeneic activation requires up-regulation and function of activating killer Ig receptors. Thus, iNKT cells can display alloreactivity, for which they use mechanisms characteristic of both NK and conventional T cells.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





3268 - 3276


Antigen Presentation, Antigen-Presenting Cells, Antigens, CD1, Antigens, CD1d, Glycosphingolipids, Humans, Isoantigens, Killer Cells, Natural, Lymphocyte Activation, Protein Binding, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, Receptors, Immunologic, T-Lymphocytes