Standard Article

Natural Killer T Cells

  1. Jelena S Bezbradica1,
  2. Luc Van Kaer2,
  3. Sebastian Joyce2

Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020180



How to Cite

Bezbradica, J. S., Van Kaer, L. and Joyce, S. 2007. Natural Killer T Cells. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

  2. 2

    Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (15 JAN 2016)


Natural killer T (NKT) cells are innate lymphocytes whose functions are regulated by self and foreign glycolipid antigens presented by the antigen-presenting, major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-like molecule CD1d. Activation of NKT cells in vivo results in rapid release of copious amounts of effector cytokines and chemokines with which they regulate innate and adaptive immune responses to pathogens, certain types of cancers and self antigens. Hence, CD1d and NKT cells are potential targets in vaccine concoctions and for immunotherapies against autoimmune diseases.


  • CD1d molecules;
  • NKT cells;
  • Glycosphingolipids;
  • α-galactosylceramide;
  • α-galacturonosylceramide