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Immunol Lett. 2005 Nov 15;101(2):160-7.

Cytokine production and migration of in vitro-expanded NK1.1(-) invariant Valpha14 natural killer T (Valpha14i NKT) cells using alpha-galactosylceramide and IL-2.

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Pharmacology Division, National Cancer Center Research Institute, 5-1-1, Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan.


Mouse natural killer T cells with invariant Valpha14 rearrangement (Valpha14i NKT cells) can rapidly produce both Th1 and Th2 cytokines and regulate various immune responses, such as autoimmunity and tumor immunity. In this study, we describe the phenotypical and functional characterization of in vitro-expanded mouse Valpha14i NKT cells from spleen using a combination of alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer) and IL-2. The expanded Valpha14i NKT cells retained the memory/activated (CD44(+)CD69(+)CD62L(-)) and CD4(+) or CD4(-)8(-) double negative phenotypes but modulated or lost the classical NKT cell marker, NK1.1. The expanded Valpha14i NKT cells continuously released IL-4 and IFNgamma and induced NK cell IFNgamma production in vitro. Furthermore, the expanded Valpha14i NKT cells migrated into the liver and spleen after adoptive transfer into lymphopenic SCID mice, and they were able to rapidly produce IL-4 and IFNgamma after alpha-GalCer injection. Our findings suggest that the intrinsic characteristics of the cytokine secretion of Valpha14i NKT cells were equivalent to that of in vitro-expanded Valpha14i NKT cells. In vitro-expanded Valpha14i NKT cells are considered to be useful for NKT cell defect-related diseases, such as autoimmunity and cancer.

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