Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2004 Dec;24(12):2351-7. Epub 2004 Oct 7.

Quantitative and qualitative differences in proatherogenic NKT cells in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice.

Author information

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, 2220 Pierce Avenue, Room 383 PRB, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.



Atherosclerosis is a disease marked by lipid accumulation and inflammation. Recently, atherosclerosis has gained recognition as an autoimmune-type syndrome characterized by increased activation of the innate and acquired immune systems. Natural killer T (NKT) cells have characteristics of both conventional T cells and NK cells and recognize glycolipid antigens presented in association with CD1d molecules on antigen-presenting cells. The capacity of NKT cells to respond to lipid antigens and modulate innate and acquired immunity suggests that they may play a role in atherogenesis.


We examined the role of NKT cells in atherogenesis and how the atherosclerotic environment affects the NKT cell population itself. The data show that CD1d-deficiency in male apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE(0)) mice results in reduction in atherosclerosis, and treatment of apoE(0) mice with alpha-galactosylceramide, a potent and specific NKT cell activator, results in a 2-fold increase in atherosclerosis. Interestingly, we demonstrate that alpha-galactosylceramide-induced interferon-gamma responses and numbers of NKT cells in apoE(0) mice show age-dependent qualitative and quantitative differences as compared with age-matched wild-type mice.


Collectively, these findings reveal that hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis have significant effects on NKT cell responses and that these cells are proatherogenic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center