Activation of nonclassical CD1d-restricted NK T cells induces airway hyperreactivity in beta(2)-microglobulin-deficient mice JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY Koh, Y. I., Kim, H. Y., Meyer, E. H., Pichavant, M., Akbari, O., Yasumi, T., Savage, P. B., DeKruyff, R. H., Umetsu, D. T. 2008; 181 (7): 4560-4569


Allergic asthma is characterized by Th2-driven eosinophilic airway inflammation and by a central feature called airway hyperreactivity (AHR), development of which requires the presence of classical type I invariant NK T (iNKT) cells. Allergen-induced AHR, however, develops in beta(2)-microglobulin (beta(2)m)(-/-) mice, which lack classical iNKT cells, suggesting that in some situations iNKT cells may be dispensable for the development of AHR. In contrast, our studies now suggest that a CD1d-restricted, NK1.1(+) noninvariant TCR NKT cell population is present in beta(2)m(-/-) mice and is responsible for the development of AHR but not for Th2 responses. Furthermore, treatment of beta(2)m(-/-) mice with anti-CD1d mAb or anti-NK1.1 mAb unexpectedly abolished allergen-induced AHR. The CD1-restricted NKT cells in these mice, which failed to respond to alpha-galactosylceramide and which therefore were not classical type I iNKT cells, appear to represent an NKT cell subset restricted by a beta(2)m-independent form of CD1d. These results indicate that, although classical type I iNKT cells are normally required for the development of AHR, under different circumstances other NKT cell subsets, including nonclassical NKT cells, may substitute for classical iNKT cells and induce AHR.

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