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Eur J Immunol. 2005 Jul;35(7):2100-9.

The role of CD1d-restricted NK T lymphocytes in the immune response to oral infection with Salmonella typhimurium.

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Section for Infection and Immunology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.


CD1d-restricted natural killer T (NKT) cells belong to the innate-like lymphocytes which respond rapidly to stress and infectious challenge. We have studied murine CD1d-restricted NKT cells in the early immune response to virulent Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium after oral infection. In the liver and spleen, neutrophil and macrophage numbers had increased several-fold by day 5 post-infection, while the frequency of B and T lymphocytes decreased. These cellular changes occurred independently of CD1d-restricted NKT cells, and further, CD1d-restricted T cells did not influence the bacterial load. However, in CD1d(+) mice NK1.1(+) T cells and invariant CD1d-restricted T cells were activated by the infection, as demonstrated by an increase in size, up-regulation of CD69 and production of IFN-gamma. The NK1.1 antigen was down-modulated on these cells during the course of infection, while TCR levels were unaffected. While dendritic cells (DC) up-regulated CD1d-levels upon 24 h of in vitro exposure to the bacteria, increased CD1d expression was not evident on DC in vivo during infection. Furthermore, in vitro re-stimulation of CD1d-restricted T cells isolated from infected mice demonstrated a significant skewing of the cytokine profile, with suppressed IL-4 and increased IFN-gamma production.

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