The janus face of NKT cell function in autoimmunity and infectious diseases

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Natural killer T cells (NKT) are a subset of T lymphocytes bridging innate and adaptive immunity. These cells recognize self and microbial glycolipids bound to non-polymorphic and highly conserved CD1d molecules. Three NKT cell subsets, type I, II, and NKT-like expressing different antigen receptors (TCR) were described and TCR activation promotes intracellular events leading to specific functional activities. NKT can exhibit different functions depending on the secretion of soluble molecules and the interaction with other cell types. NKT cells act as regulatory cells in the defense against infections but, on the other hand, their effector functions can be involved in the pathogenesis of several inflammatory disorders due to their exposure to different microbial or self-antigens, respectively. A deep understanding of the biology and functions of type I, II, and NKT-like cells as well as their interplay with cell types acting in innate (neuthrophils, innate lymphoid cells, machrophages, and dendritic cells) and adaptive immunity (CD4+,CD8+, and double negative T cells) should be important to design potential immunotherapies for infectious and autoimmune diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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