Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 442–469 | Cite as

CD1d and natural T cells: how their properties jump-start the immune system

  • S. Joyce


Cellular and humoral immune mechanisms recruited to defend the host from infectious agents depend upon the early immune events triggered by antigen. The cytokine milieu within which the immune response matures is the most important of many factors that govern the nature of the immune response. Natural T cells, whose function is controlled by CD1d molecules, are an early source of cytokines that can bestow type 1 or type 2 differentiative potential upon helper T lymphocytes. This review attempts to illuminate the glycolipid antigen presentation properties of CD1d, how CD1d controls the function of natural T cells and how CD1d and natural T cells interact to jump start the immune system. CD1d is postulated to function as a sensor, sensing alterations in cellular lipid content by virtue of its affinity for such ligands. The presentation of a neo-self glycolipid, presumably by infectious assault of antigen-presenting cells, activates natural T cells, which promptly release pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines and jumpstart the immune system.

Key words: CD1d; glycolipid antigen; natural killer T cells; pro-inflammatory cytokines; anti-inflammatory cytokine; interleukin-4; interleukin-12; interferon- $ \gamma $; granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor. 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Joyce
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA), Fax +16153437392, e-mail: US

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