American journal of transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons

Critical role of NKT cells in posttransplant alloantibody production.

PMID 25220596


We previously reported that posttransplant alloantibody production in CD8-deficient hosts is IL-4+ CD4+ T cell-dependent and IgG1 isotype-dominant. The current studies investigated the hypothesis that IL-4-producing natural killer T cells (NKT cells) contribute to maximal alloantibody production. To investigate this, alloantibody levels were examined in CD8-deficient WT, CD1d KO and Jα18 KO transplant recipients. We found that the magnitude of IgG1 alloantibody production was critically dependent on the presence of type I NKT cells, which are activated by day 1 posttransplant. Unexpectedly, type I NKT cell contribution to enhanced IgG1 alloantibody levels was interferon-γ-dependent and IL-4-independent. Cognate interactions between type I NKT and B cells alone do not stimulate alloantibody production. Instead, NKT cells appear to enhance maturation of IL-4+ CD4+ T cells. To our knowledge, this is the first report to substantiate a critical role for type I NKT cells in enhancing in vivo antibody production in response to endogenous antigenic stimuli.