Regulation of memory CD4 T-cell pool size and function by natural killer T cells in vivo

Chiaki Iwamura, Kenta Shinoda, Yusuke Endo, Yukiko Watanabe, Damon John Tumes, Shinichiro Motohashi, Kazuyoshi Kawahara, Yuki Kinjo, Toshinori Nakayama

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15 Citations (Scopus)


To develop more effective vaccines and strategies to regulate chronic inflammatory diseases, it is important to understand the mechanisms of immunological memory. Factors regulating memory CD4+ T helper (Th)-cell pool size and function remain unclear, however. We show that activation of type I invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells with glycolipid ligands and activation of type II natural killer T (NKT) cells with the endogenous ligand sulfatide induced dramatic proliferation and expansion of memory, but not naïve, CD4 T cells. NKT cell-induced proliferation of memory Th1 and Th2 cells was dependent largely on the production of IL-2, with Th2-cell proliferation also affected by loss of IL-4. Type II NKT cells were also required for efficient maintenance of memory CD4 T cells in vivo. Activation of iNKT cells resulted in up-regulation of IFN-γ expression by memory Th2 cells. These IFN-γ-producing memory Th2 cells showed a decreased capability to induce Th2 cytokines and eosinophilic airway inflammation. Thus, activated NKT cells directly regulate memory CD4 T-cell pool size and function via the production of cytokines in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16992-16997
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number42
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2012


  • Allergy
  • CD1d KO mice
  • Jα18 KO mice
  • STAT5
  • α-galactosylceramide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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