Rat NKR-P1+ CD3+ T cells: selective proliferation in interleukin-2, diverse T-cell-receptor-Vβ repertoire and polarized interferon-γ expression

Authors


Dr VukmanovićMichael Heidelberger Division of Immunology, Department of Pathology, NYU Medical Center, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA.

Abstract

Cells expressing markers of both natural killer and T lymphocytes (NK T cells) in humans and mice express a restricted T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire, are of CD4 CD8 or CD4+ CD8 phenotype, and upon anti-CD3 stimulation secrete large amounts of interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interferon-γ (IFN-γ). NK T cells may be the primary source of IL-4-promoting T helper type 2 (Th2) responses and/or they might be involved in regulating the balance between Th1- and Th2-type immune responses, and may consequently affect susceptibility to autoimmune diseases associated with a skewed Th phenotype. We show that rat NK T cells selectively proliferate to IL-2, and use this fact to analyse cytokine production by NK T cells in two rat strains differentially susceptible to Th1- or Th2-type autoimmune diseases. Analysis by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction revealed that, in contrast to mouse, rat NK T cells secrete exclusively IFN-γ and not IL-4 after anti-CD3 stimulation, and use a wider TCR-Vβ repertoire, suggesting that rat NK T cells are not essential for the development of Th2-type CD4+ T-cell responses.

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