Send to

Choose Destination
J Immune Based Ther Vaccines. 2004 Jul 13;2(1):7.

Tumor-infiltrating effector cells of alpha-galactosylceramide-induced antitumor immunity in metastatic liver tumor.

Author information

Department of Surgical Oncology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8655, Japan.



alpha-Galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer) can be presented by CD1d molecules of antigen-presenting cells, and is known to induce a potent NKT cell-dependent cytotoxic response against tumor cells. However, the main effector cells in alpha-GalCer-induced antitumor immunity are still controversial.


In order to elucidate the cell phenotype that plays the most important role in alpha-GalCer-induced antitumor immunity, we purified and analyzed tumor-infiltrating leukocytes (TILs) from liver metastatic nodules of a colon cancer cell line (Colon26), comparing alpha-GalCer- and control vehicle-treated mice. Flow cytometry was performed to analyze cell phenotype in TILs and IFN-gamma ELISA was performed to detect antigen-specific immune response.


Flow cytometry analysis showed a significantly higher infiltration of NK cells (DX5+, T cell receptor alphabeta (TCR)-) into tumors in alpha-GalCer-treated mice compared to vehicle-treated mice. The DX5+TCR+ cell population was not significantly different between these two groups, indicating that these cells were not the main effector cells. Interestingly, the CD8+ T cell population was increased in TILs of alpha-GalCer-treated mice, and the activation level of these cells based on CD69 expression was higher than that in vehicle-treated mice. Moreover, the number of tumor-infiltrating dendritic cells (DCs) was increased in alpha-GalCer-treated mice. IFN-gamma ELISA showed stronger antigen-specific response in TILs from alpha-GalCer-treated mice compared to those from vehicle-treated mice, although the difference between these two groups was not significant.


In alpha-GalCer-induced antitumor immunity, NK cells seem to be some of the main effector cells and both CD8+ T cells and DCs, which are related to acquired immunity, might also play important roles in this antitumor immune response. These results suggest that alpha-GalCer has a multifunctional role in modulation of the immune response.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center