, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 228-239
Date: 02 Nov 2010

Functional Invariant NKT Cells in Pig Lungs Regulate the Airway Hyperreactivity: A Potential Animal Model

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Important roles played by invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells in asthma pathogenesis have been demonstrated. We identified functional iNKT cells and CD1d molecules in pig lungs. Pig iNKT cells cultured in the presence of α-GalCer proliferated and secreted Th1 and Th2 cytokines. Like in other animal models, direct activation of pig lung iNKT cells using α-GalCer resulted in acute airway hyperreactivity (AHR). Clinically, acute AHR-induced pigs had increased respiratory rate, enhanced mucus secretion in the airways, fever, etc. In addition, we observed petechial hemorrhages, infiltration of CD4+ cells, and increased Th2 cytokines in AHR-induced pig lungs. Ex vivo proliferated iNKT cells of asthma induced pigs in the presence of C-glycoside analogs of α-GalCer had predominant Th2 phenotype and secreted more of Th2 cytokine, IL-4. Thus, baby pigs may serve as a useful animal model to study iNKT cell-mediated AHR caused by various environmental and microbial CD1d-specific glycolipid antigens.