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Keywords:

  • B-1 B cells;
  • contact sensitivity;
  • interleukin-4;
  • signal transducer and activator of transcription-6;
  • Vα14+ natural killer T cells

Summary

We showed that hepatic Vα14+ invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells, via their rapid interleukin (IL)-4 production, activate B-1 cells to initiate contact sensitivity (CS). This innate collaboration was absent in IL-4–/– and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-6–/– mice and was inhibited by anti-IL-4 treatment. These mice have defective CS because they fail to locally recruit the sensitized effector T cells of acquired immunity. Their CS is reconstituted by transfer of downstream-acting 1-day immune B-1 cells from wild-type mice. Responses were not reconstituted with B-1 cells from IL-4 receptor-α–/– or STAT-6–/– mice, nor by IL-4 treatment of B cell-deficient mice at immunization. Finally, IL-4 was preferentially and transiently produced by hepatic iNKT cells within 7 min after sensitization to mediate collaboration between innate-like iNKT cells and the B-1 B cells that participate in the recruitment of effector T cells in vivo.