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Int Immunol. 2009 Jul;21(7):859-70. doi: 10.1093/intimm/dxp052. Epub 2009 May 28.

Activation of invariant NKT cells confers protection against Chlamydia trachomatis-induced arthritis.

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Departments of Medicine and Immunology, Toronto Western Research Institute, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The role of invariant NKT (iNKT) cells in reactive arthritis is unknown. We explored the functional role of NKT cells in reactive arthritis using an established murine model of Chlamydia trachomatis-induced arthritis (CtIA). CtIA in wild-type and CD1d knockout (KO) mice was induced by intra-articular injection of C. trachomatis. The effect of alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer) activation of iNKT cells was investigated by intra-peritoneal administration of alpha-GalCer. Histopathological and phenotypic changes, chlamydial clearance and cytokine and chemokine production in synovial tissue of the knee joint were investigated after onset of the arthritis. The severity of CtIA was significantly increased in CD1d KO mice, which was associated with decrease in bactericidal cytokine IFN-gamma, regulatory cytokines IL-4 and IL-10 and increase in pro-inflammatory chemokines macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2) and IFN-gamma-inducible protein-10 (IP-10). Local clearance of the pathogen from the joint was also decreased. Prior treatment of mice with alpha-GalCer, a potent activator of iNKT cells, significantly reduced the severity of CtIA in mice. The amelioration of CtIA was associated with decrease in chlamydial load and induction of cytokines IFN-gamma, IL-4 and IL-10 and significant suppression of MIP-2 and IP-10. Treatment of established CtIA with alpha-GalCer also demonstrated modulation of CtIA and decrease in chlamydial load. These results suggest that iNKT cells are protective against CtIA and alpha-GalCer-activated iNKT cells have an immunoregulatory role not only in preventing the induction of reactive arthritis but also in modulating established disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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