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Parasite. 2008 Sep;15(3):384-8.

Role of natural killer T lymphocytes during helminthic infection.

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  • 1Institut National de la Recherche M├ędicale, U547, Institut Pasteur de Lille, 1, rue du Professeur Calmette, Lille, 59019, France.


Natural killer (NK)T cells are innate lymphocytes that release important amount of immunoregulatory cytokines (IFN-gamma and/or IL-4) shortly after T cell receptor engagement by (glyco)lipid antigens presented by the CD1d molecules. Through this property, NKT cells play pivotal role in many physiopathologic situations. Here, we review the current knowledge of the functions and mechanisms of activation of NKT cells during infection, with a particular emphasis on helminthic infections. Recent findings suggest that, although dispensable for host resistance, NKT cells play part in the development of the acquired immune response and in the control of the pathology during murine schistosomiasis.

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