IL-10-producing NKT10 cells are a distinct regulatory invariant NKT cell subset

Sag D., Krause P., Hedrick C. C., Kronenberg M., Wingender G.

JOURNAL OF CLINICAL INVESTIGATION, vol.124, no.9, pp.3725-3740, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 124 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.1172/jci72308
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.3725-3740
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells rapidly produce copious amounts of multiple cytokines after activation, thereby impacting a wide variety of different immune reactions. However, strong activation of iNKT cells with alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha GalCer) reportedly induces a hyporeactive state that resembles anergy. In contrast, we determined here that iNKT cells from mice pretreated with alpha GalCer retain cytotoxic activity and maintain the ability to respond to TCR-dependent as well as TCR-independent cytokine-mediated stimulation. Additionally, alpha GalCer-pretreated iNKT cells acquired characteristics of regulatory cells, including production and secretion of the immunomodulatory cytolcine IL-10. Through the production of IL-10, alpha GalCer-pretreated iNKT cells impaired antitumor responses and reduced disease in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a mouse model of autoimmune disease. Furthermore, a subset of iNKT cells with a similar inhibitory phenotype and function were present in mice not exposed to alpha GalCer and were enriched in mouse adipose tissue and detectable in human PBMCs. These data demonstrate that IL-10-producing MKT cells with regulatory potential (NKT10 cells) represent a distinct iNKT cell subset.