Invariant NKT cells producing IL-4 or IL-10, but not IFN-gamma, inhibit the Th1 response in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, whereas none of these cells inhibits the Th17 response.

Research paper by Sae Jin SJ Oh, Doo Hyun DH Chung

Indexed on: 17 May '11Published on: 17 May '11Published in: Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)


Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is mediated by Th1 and Th17 cells. Invariant NKT (iNKT) cells prevent EAE in an IL-4-, IL-10-, and IFN-γ-dependent manner. However, which of the iNKT cell-produced cytokines regulates the Th1 or Th17 response in EAE remains unclear. Wild-type B6 and Jα18(-/-) mice were immunized with MOG(35-55) peptide to address this issue. Clinical scores for EAE, IL-17, and IFN-γ transcript levels, and IL-17- or IFN-γ-expressing CD4(+) T cell percentages in the CNS and draining lymph nodes were higher in Jα18(-/-) than in B6 mice, but all of these parameters in the CNS were reduced by the adoptive transfer of wild-type or IFN-γ-deficient iNKT cells into the Jα18(-/-) mice before immunization. In contrast, adoptive transfer of IL-4- or IL-10-deficient iNKT cells into Jα18(-/-) mice decreased IL-17 transcript levels and the percentage of IL-17-expressing CD4(+) T cells in the CNS but did not affect clinical scores, IFN-γ transcript levels, or the percentage of IFN-γ-expressing CD4(+) T cells in the CNS. Taken together, IL-4- and IL-10-producing iNKT cells inhibit the Th1 cell response, but not the Th17 cell response, although wild-type iNKT cells suppress both the Th1 and Th17 responses in the CNS during EAE. Moreover, IFN-γ-producing iNKT cells have a minimal role in the regulation of the Th1 and Th17 responses in EAE.