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Cell Immunol. 2000 Jan 10;199(1):37-42.

alpha-galactosylceramide induces early B-cell activation through IL-4 production by NKT cells.

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Section of Genetic Engineering, Tokai University School of Medicine, Bohseidai, Isehara, 259-1193, Japan.


alpha-Galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer), a glycolipid antigen, specifically activates natural killer T (NKT) cells by a CD1d-restricted mechanism. In this work, we found that in vivo administration of alpha-GalCer resulted in the activation of B cells in addition to NKT cells, namely, alpha-GalCer administration caused upregulation of the early activation marker, CD69, on both NKT and B cells. In addition, expression of B7.2 and I-A(b) on B cells was greatly upregulated by alpha-GalCer. However, serum levels of IgE, IgG1, and IgG2a were not significantly changed within 48 h. In the present experiments, it was also demonstrated that the upregulation of CD69 expression by alpha-GalCer was strongly blocked by anti-IL-4 monoclonal antibody. Moreover, B-cell activation by alpha-GalCer was not observed in NKT-deficient mice. These results suggested that antigen-stimulated NKT cells might play a critical role not only in early defense mechanisms but also in early B-cell activation through IL-4 production.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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