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Int J Cancer. 2005 Nov 1;117(2):265-73.

Dendritic cell maturation by CD11c- T cells and Valpha24+ natural killer T-cell activation by alpha-galactosylceramide.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba Science City, Ibaraki, Japan.


Human invariant Valpha24+ natural killer T (NKT) cells display potent antitumor activity upon stimulation. Activation of endogenous Valpha24+ NKT cells would be one strategy for the treatment of cancer patients. For example, dendritic cells (DCs) loaded with a glycolipid NKT cell ligand, alpha-galactosylceramide (alphaGalCer, KRN7000), are a possible tool for the activation and expansion of functional Valpha24+ NKT cells in vivo. In this report, we demonstrate that the levels of expansion and the ability to produce IFN-gamma of Valpha24+ NKT cells induced by alphaGalCer-loaded whole PBMCs cultured with IL-2 and GM-CSF (IL-2/GM-CSF-cultured PBMCs) were superior to those of cells induced by monocyte-derived CD11c+ DCs (moDCs) developed with IL-4 and GM-CSF. Interestingly, CD11c+ cells in the IL-2/GM-CSF-cultured PBMCs showed a mature phenotype without further stimulation and exerted potent stimulatory activity on Valpha24+ NKT cells to enable them to produce IFN-gamma preferentially at an extent equivalent to mature moDCs induced by stimulation with LPS or a cytokine cocktail. Cocultivation with CD11c- cells in the IL-2/GM-CSF-cultured PBMCs induced maturation of moDCs. In particular, CD11c-CD3+ T cells appeared to play important roles in DC maturation. In addition, TNF-alpha was preferentially produced by CD11c-CD3+ T cells in IL-2/GM-CSF-cultured PBMCs and was involved in the maturation of moDCs. Thus, the maturation of DCs induced by CD11c- T cells through TNF-alpha production appears to result in the efficient expansion and activation of Valpha24+ NKT cells to produce IFN-gamma preferentially.

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