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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Jan 25;102(4):1127-32. Epub 2005 Jan 11.

Glycolipid presentation to natural killer T cells differs in an organ-dependent fashion.

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Department of Medical and Molecular Parasitology, New York University School of Medicine, 341 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, USA.


It has been shown that dendritic cells (DCs) are able to present glycolipids to natural killer (NK) T cells in vivo. However, the essential role of DCs, as well as the role of other cells in glycolipid presentation, is unknown. Here, we show that DCs are the crucial antigen-presenting cells (APCs) for splenic NK T cells, whereas Kupffer cells are the key APCs for hepatic NK T cells. Both cell types stimulate cytokine production by NK T cells within 2 h of glycolipid administration, but only DCs are involved in the systemic, downstream responses to glycolipid administration. More specifically, CD8alpha+ DCs produce IL-12 in response to glycolipid presentation, which stimulates secondary IFN-gamma production by NK cells in different organs. Different APCs participate in glycolipid presentation to NK T cells in vivo but differ in their involvement in the overall glycolipid response.

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