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Scand J Immunol. 2011 Oct;74(4):406-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3083.2011.02591.x.

iNKT cell frequency in peripheral blood of Caucasian children and adolescent: the absolute iNKT cell count is stable from birth to adulthood.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Clinical Immunology, Heinrich Heine University, Duesseldorf, Germany.


Human invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT cells) are a unique population of T cells that express a semi-invariantly rearranged T cell receptor (TCR) and are involved in a variety of immunoregulatory processes. We assessed the frequency of peripheral blood iNKT cells in 64 healthy Caucasian children from 7 months to 18 years of age and five cord blood samples by flow cytometry. iNKT cells were measured as CD3(+) cells co-expressing TCRVα24 and TCRVβ11 and using the monoclonal antibody 6B11, which recognizes specifically their invariant TCR rearrangement. The absolute number of iNKT cells ranged from 86 to 10,499 (CD3(+) /TCRVα24(+) / TCRVβ11(+)) and 233 to 11,167 (CD3(+) /6B11(+)) iNKT cells per millilitre of blood. This range is stable from birth to adulthood. The relative iNKT cell count was found to be 0.003-0.71% (CD3(+) /TCRVα24/TCRVβ11) and 0.019-0.776% (CD3/6B11) of peripheral blood T cells and shows only a slight increase with age.

© 2011 The Authors. Scandinavian Journal of Immunology © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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