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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.

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Immunol

Publication Date

01/09/2008

Volume

181

Pages

3268 - 3276

Keywords

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