Author(s): Falcone M, Yeung B, Tucker L, Rodriguez E, Sarvetnick N
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Abstract The function of natural killer T (NKT) cells in the immune system has yet to be determined. There is some evidence that their defect is associated with autoimmunity, but it is still unclear how they play a role in regulating the pathogenesis of T cell-mediated autoimmune diseases. It was originally proposed that NKT cells could control autoimmunity by shifting the cytokine profile of autoimmune T cells toward a protective T helper 2 cell (Th2) type. However, it is now clear that the major function of NKT cells in the immune system is not related to their interleukin (IL)-4 secretion. In fact, NKT cells mainly secrete interferon (IFN)-gamma and, activated in the presence of IL-12, acquire a strong inflammatory phenotype and cytotoxic function.
This article was published in J Exp Med
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology