Natural killer T cells in health and disease.
ABSTRACT Natural killer T (NKT) cells are a subset of T lymphocytes that share surface markers and functional characteristics with both conventional T lymphocytes and natural killer cells. Most NKT cells express a semi-invariant T cell receptor that reacts with glycolipid antigens presented by the major histocompatibility complex class I-related protein CD1d on the surface of antigen-presenting cells. NKT cells become activated during a variety of infections and inflammatory conditions, rapidly producing large amounts of immunomodulatory cytokines. NKT cells can influence the activation state and functional properties of multiple other cell types in the immune system and, thus, modulate immune responses against infectious agents, autoantigens, tumors, tissue grafts and allergens. One attractive aspect of NKT cells is that their immunomodulatory activities can be readily harnessed with cognate glycolipid antigens, such as the marine sponge-derived glycosphingolipid alpha-galactosylceramide. These properties of NKT cells are being exploited for therapeutic intervention to prevent or treat cancer, infections, and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
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ABSTRACT: It is becoming increasingly clear that stressful life events can affect cancer growth and metastasis by modulating nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. The purpose of this review is to briefly describe the process by which stress may potentiate carcinogenesis and how reducing body stress may prevent cancer growth and progression. The opioid peptide β-endorphin plays a critical role in bringing the stress axis to a state of homeostasis. We have recently shown that enhancement of endogenous levels of β-endorphin in the hypothalamus via β-endorphin neuron transplantation suppresses stress response, promotes immune function, and reduces the incidence of cancer in rat models of prostate and breast cancers. The cancer-preventive effect of β-endorphin is mediated through the suppression of sympathetic neuronal function, which results in increased peripheral natural killer cell and macrophage activities, elevated levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines, and reduced levels of inflammatory cytokines. β-endorphin inhibition of tumor progression also involves alteration in the tumor microenvironment, possibly because of suppression of catecholamine and inflammatory cytokine production, which are known to alter DNA repair, cell-matrix attachments, angiogenic process, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Thus, β-endorphin cell therapy may offer some therapeutic value in cancer prevention.Cancer Research 02/2012; 72(4):836-40. · 8.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Every year individuals receive hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) to eradicate malignant and nonmalignant disease. The immunobiology of allotransplantation is an area of ongoing discovery, from the recipient's conditioning treatment prior to the transplant to the donor cell populations responsible for engraftment, graft-versus-host disease, and graft-versus-tumor effect. In this review, we focus on donor-type immunoregulatory T cells, namely, natural killer T cells (NKT) and regulatory T cells (Treg), and their current and potential roles in tolerance induction after allogeneic HSCT.TheScientificWorldJOURNAL 01/2011; 11:2620-34. · 1.73 Impact Factor