Journal of clinical immunology

Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific memory NKT cells in patients with tuberculous pleurisy.

PMID 25190196


Natural killer T (NKT) cells from mouse and human play a protective role in the immune responses against the infection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. However, the characteristic of CD3(+)TCRvβ11(+) NKT cells at the local site of M. tuberculosis infection remains poorly defined. In the present study, we found that the numbers of CD3(+)TCRvβ11(+) NKT cells in pleural fluid mononuclear cells (PFMCs) were significantly lower than those in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). However, CD3(+)TCRvβ11(+) NKT cells from PFMCs spontaneously expressed high levels of CD69 and CD25 and effector memory phenotypes of CD45RO(high)CD62L(low)CCR7(low). After stimulation with the antigens of M. tuberculosis, CD3(+)TCRvβ11(+) NKT cells from PFMCs produced high levels of IFN-γ. Sorted CD3(+)TCRvβ11(+) NKT cells from PFMCs cultured with antigen presenting cells (APCs) produced IFN-γ protein and mRNA. The production of IFN-γ could be completely inhibited by AG490 and Wortmannin. In addition, CD3(+)TCRvβ11(+) NKT cells from PFMCs expressed higher levels of Fas (CD95), FasL (CD178) and perforin but lower levels of granzyme B compared with those from PBMCs. Taken together, our data demonstrated for the first time that M. tuberculosis-specific CD3(+)TCRvβ11(+) NKT cells participated in the local immune responses against M. tuberculosis through the production of IFN-γ and the secretion of cytolytic molecules.