Distinct cytokine profiles of neonatal natural killer T cells after expansion with subsets of dendritic cells

Norimitsu Kadowaki, Svetlana Antonenko, Stephen Ho, Marie Clotilde Rissoan, Vassili Soumelis, Steven A. Porcelli, Lewis L. Lanier, Yong Jun Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


Natural killer T (NKT) cells are a highly conserved subset of T cells that have been shown to play a critical role in suppressing T helper cell type 1 - mediated autoimmune diseases and graft versus host disease in an interleukin (IL)-4 - dependent manner. Thus, it is important to understand how the development of IL-4 - versus interferon (IFN)-γ - producing NKT cells is regulated. Here, we show that NKT cells from adult blood and those from cord blood undergo massive expansion in cell numbers (500-70,000-fold) during a 4-wk culture with IL-2, IL-7, phytohemagglutinin, anti-CD3, and anti-CD28 mAbs. Unlike adult NKT cells that preferentially produce both IL-4 and IFN-γ, neonatal NKT cells preferentially produce IL-4 after polyclonal activation. Addition of type 2 dendritic cells (DC2) enhances the development of neonatal NKT cells into IL-4+IFN-γ- NKT2 cells, whereas addition of type 1 dendritic cells (DC1) induces polarization towards IL-4-IFN-γ+ NKT1 cells. Adult NKT cells display limited plasticity for polarization induced by DC1 or DC2. Thus, newly generated NKT cells may possess the potent ability to develop into IL-4+IFN-γ- NKT2 cells in response to appropriate stimuli and may thereafter acquire the tendency to produce both IL-4 and IFN-γ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1221-1226
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 21 2001


  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cord blood
  • Graft versus host disease
  • Interferon γ
  • Interleukin 4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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