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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00305

The influence of invariant NKT cells on humoral immunity to T-dependent and T-independent antigens

  • 1Microbiology and Immunology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, United States

Vaccination with CD1d-binding glycolipid adjuvants and co-administered protein, lipid, and carbohydrate antigens leads to invariant NKT cell-dependent enhancement of protective B cell responses. NKT cell activation boosts the establishment of protein antigen-specific B cell memory and long-lived plasma cell compartments. NKT cells may exert a similar effect on some carbohydrate-specific B cells, but not lipid-specific B cells. The mechanisms of action of NKT cells on B cell responsiveness and subsequent differentiation into memory B cells and long-lived plasma cells is dependent on CD1d expression by dendritic cells and B cells that can co-present glycolipids on CD1d and antigen-derived peptide on MHCII. CD1d/glycolipid-activated NKT cells are able to provide help to B cells in a manner dependent on cognate and non-cognate interactions. More recently, a glycolipid-expanded subset of IL-21-secreting NKT cells known as NKT follicular helper cells has been suggested to be a driver of NKT-enhanced humoral immunity. This review summarizes established and recent findings on how NKT cells impact humoral immunity and suggests possible areas of investigation that may allow the incorporation of NKT-activating agents into vaccine adjuvant platforms.

Keywords: CD1d, NKT cells, Vaccines, humoral immunity, pathogen

Received: 11 Jan 2018; Accepted: 05 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Luc Van Kaer, Vanderbilt University, United States

Reviewed by:

Laurent Brossay, Brown University, United States
Paolo Dellabona, San Raffaele Scientific Institute (IRCCS), Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Lang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Mark L. Lang, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Microbiology and Immunology, 940 Stanton L. Young Blvd., BMSB 1019, Oklahoma City, 73104, OK, United States,