International Journal of Hematology

, Volume 90, Issue 2, pp 137–142

Human invariant natural killer T cells: implications for immunotherapy

Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-009-0379-1

Cite this article as:
Takahashi, T. & Kurokawa, M. Int J Hematol (2009) 90: 137. doi:10.1007/s12185-009-0379-1


Human invariant natural killer T cells are a unique lymphocyte population that have an invariant T-cell receptor and recognize glycolipids instead of peptides in the restriction of CD1d molecules. These natural killer T cells play important roles in anti-tumor immunity, transplantation immunity, allergy, autoimmunity and microbial immunity. Since human natural killer T cells show high-level biological activity such as cytokine production, an anti-tumor effect and regulatory T-cell control, they may be a useful tool in immune-cell therapy. In this review, we summarize the immune responses mediated by human natural killer T cells, especially in tumor and transplantation immunity, and discuss their potential in clinical applications.


NKTImmunotherapyTumor immunityTransplantation immunity

Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Hematology 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Hematology and OncologyGraduate School of Medicine, University of TokyoTokyoJapan