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Science. 2012 Apr 27;336(6080):489-93. doi: 10.1126/science.1219328. Epub 2012 Mar 22.

Microbial exposure during early life has persistent effects on natural killer T cell function.

Author information

1
Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Endoscopy, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Abstract

Exposure to microbes during early childhood is associated with protection from immune-mediated diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and asthma. Here, we show that in germ-free (GF) mice, invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells accumulate in the colonic lamina propria and lung, resulting in increased morbidity in models of IBD and allergic asthma as compared with that of specific pathogen-free mice. This was associated with increased intestinal and pulmonary expression of the chemokine ligand CXCL16, which was associated with increased mucosal iNKT cells. Colonization of neonatal-but not adult-GF mice with a conventional microbiota protected the animals from mucosal iNKT accumulation and related pathology. These results indicate that age-sensitive contact with commensal microbes is critical for establishing mucosal iNKT cell tolerance to later environmental exposures.

Comment in

PMID:
22442383
PMCID:
PMC3437652
DOI:
10.1126/science.1219328
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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