There is heterogeneity in invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells based on the expression of CD4 and the IL-17 receptor B (IL-17RB), a receptor for IL-25 which is a key factor in T H2 immunity. However, the development pathway and precise function of these iNKT cell subtypes remain unknown. IL-17RB + iNKT cells are present in the thymic CD44 +/- NK1.1 - population and develop normally even in the absence of IL-15, which is required for maturation and homeostasis of IL-17RB - iNKT cells producing IFN-γ. These results suggest that iNKT cells contain at least two subtypes, IL-17RB + and IL-17RB - subsets. The IL-17RB + iNKT subtypes can be further divided into two subtypes on the basis of CD4 expression both in the thymus and in the periphery. CD4 + IL-17RB + iNKT cells produce T H2 (IL-13), T H9 (IL-9 and IL-10), and T H17 (IL-17A and IL-22) cytokines in response to IL-25 in an E4BP4-dependent fashion, whereas CD4 - IL-17RB + iNKT cells are a retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor (ROR)γt + subset producing T H17 cytokines upon stimulation with IL-23 in an E4BP4-independent fashion. These IL-17RB + iNKT cell subtypes are abundantly present in the lung in the steady state and mediate the pathogenesis in virus-induced airway hyperreactivity (AHR). In this study we demonstrated that the IL-17RB + iNKT cell subsets develop distinct from classical iNKT cell developmental stages in the thymus and play important roles in the pathogenesis of airway diseases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)