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Natural Killer T Cells

Natural Killer T cells are a lymphoid population distinct from natural killer cells and conventional T cells. NKT cells recognize lipid antigen in the context of CD1 molecules, unlike classical T cells, which recognize peptide antigens presented by MHC class I and class II molecules. Similar to innate immune cells, NKT cells rapidly mediate their effector functions following activation and help activate other immune cells. Type I NKT cells, also known as canonical or invariant NKT (iNKT) cells express a specific TCRα chain rearrangement, namely Vα14Jα18 in mice and Vα24Jα18 in humans, which is associated with Vβ chains of limited diversity. Type II NKT cells are CD1d-restricted T cells that express diverse TCRs. iNKT cells are further classified into CD4+ and CD4-CD8- double negative (DN) populations in mice whereas human NKT cells are CD4+, CD8+ or DN. It is thought that CD4+ type I NKT cells produce both Th1 and Th2 cytokines such as IFN-γ and IL-4, respectively, whereas DN type I NKT cells primarily produce Th1-type cytokines. Moreover, studies have shown that type I NKT cells exert potent anti-tumor effects, whereas type II NKT cells suppress anti-tumor immune responses through their production of Th2 cytokines, namely IL-4 and IL-13. This review will focus mainly on canonical, type I iNKT cells. Natural Killer T Cell Based Immunotherapy: Priyanka B Subrahmanyam, Wenji Sun, James E East, Junxin Li and Tonya J Webb
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Last date updated on July, 2014

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