Author(s): Subleski JJ, Jiang Q, Weiss JM, Wiltrout RH
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Abstract NKT cells are a heterogeneous subset of specialized, self-reactive T cells, with innate and adaptive immune properties, which allow them to bridge innate and adaptive immunity and profoundly influence autoimmune and malignant disease outcomes. NKT cells mediate these activities through their ability to rapidly express pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines that influence the type and magnitude of the immune response. Not only do NKT cells regulate the functions of other cell types, but experimental evidence has found NKT cell subsets can modulate the functions of other NKT subsets. Depending on underlying mechanisms, NKT cells can inhibit or exacerbate autoimmunity and malignancy, making them potential targets for disease intervention. NKT cells can respond to foreign and endogenous antigenic glycolipid signals that are expressed during pathogenic invasion or ongoing inflammation, respectively, allowing them to rapidly react to and influence a broad array of diseases. In this article we review the unique development and activation pathways of NKT cells and focus on how these attributes augment or exacerbate autoimmune disorders and malignancy. We also examine the growing evidence that NKT cells are involved in liver inflammatory conditions that can contribute to the development of malignancy.
This article was published in Immunotherapy
and referenced in Hair Therapy & Transplantation