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J Exp Med. 2003 Jul 21;198(2):267-79.

Activation of natural killer T cells by alpha-galactosylceramide rapidly induces the full maturation of dendritic cells in vivo and thereby acts as an adjuvant for combined CD4 and CD8 T cell immunity to a coadministered protein.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cellular Physiology and Immunology, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021-6399, USA.

Abstract

The maturation of dendritic cells (DCs) allows these antigen-presenting cells to initiate immunity. We pursued this concept in situ by studying the adjuvant action of alpha-galactosylceramide (alphaGalCer) in mice. A single i.v. injection of glycolipid induced the full maturation of splenic DCs, beginning within 4 h. Maturation was manifest by marked increases in costimulator and major histocompatibility complex class II expression, interferon (IFN)-gamma production, and stimulation of the mixed leukocyte reaction. These changes were not induced directly by alphaGalCer but required natural killer T (NKT) cells acting independently of the MyD88 adaptor protein. To establish that DC maturation was responsible for the adjuvant role of alphaGalCer, mice were given alphaGalCer together with soluble or cell-associated ovalbumin antigen. Th1 type CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses developed, and the mice became resistant to challenge with ovalbumin-expressing tumor. DCs from mice given ovalbumin plus adjuvant, but not the non-DCs, stimulated ovalbumin-specific proliferative responses and importantly, induced antigen-specific, IFN-gamma producing, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells upon transfer into naive animals. In the latter instance, immune priming did not require further exposure to ovalbumin, alphaGalCer, NKT, or NK cells. Therefore a single dose of alphaGalCer i.v. rapidly stimulates the full maturation of DCs in situ, and this accounts for the induction of combined Th1 CD4+ and CD8+ T cell immunity to a coadministered protein.

PMID:
12874260
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2194082
Free PMC Article
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