Functions of iNKT cell subsets

Mass-Bauer K, Lohmeyer JK, Hirai T, et al. Invariant Natural Killer T Cell Subsets Have Diverse Graft-Versus-Host-Disease-Preventing and Anti-Tumor Effects. Blood. 2021; (doi: 10.1182/blood.2021010887).

The T cell subset populated by Invariant Natural Killer T (iNKT) cells is known for its immunomodulatory properties, but new research reveals that the different sublineages do not have the same action against cancers and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). iNKT1 cells exhibit the most aggressive anti-tumor activity against murine B-cell lymphoma cells, both in vivo and in vitro. While iNKT1 cells do not mitigate acute GVHD in mice in vivo, investigators found that iNKT2 and iNKT17 cells are strongest in this respect, due to their robust immune-regulatory properties. Additionally, iNKT1 cells had the strongest antitumor activity against murine B-cell lymphoma both in vitro and <="" i="">. The findings suggest that iNKT cells could potentially be harnessed as a therapy against tumors and as a prevention and treatment pathway for GVHD.

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