Alteration of the relative levels of iNKT cell subsets is associated with chronic mycobacterial infections

JS Im, T-J Kang, S-B Lee, C-H Kim, MM Venkataswamy, E Serfass, PA Chen, Petr Illarionov, Gurdyal Besra, WR Jacobs, G-T Chae, SA Porcelli

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33 Citations (Scopus)


CD1d-restricted invariant natural killer T cells (iNKTcells) have been identified as an important type of effector and regulatory T cell., but their roles in the chronic infectious diseases caused by Mycobocterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium leprae remain poorly defined. Here, we studied circulating human iNKT cells in blood samples from tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy patients. We found that the percentages of iNKT cells among total circulating T cells in TB and leprosy patients were not significantly different from those in normal controls. However, both TB and leprosy patients showed a selective reduction of the proinflammatory CD4(-)CD8 beta(-) (DN) iNKT cells with a proportionate increase in the CD4(+) iNKT cells. Similar phenotypic alterations in circulating iNKT cells were observed in a mouse model of M. tuberculosis infection. Taken together, these findings indicate that the selective reduction of circulating DN iNKT cells is associated with chronic infections caused by M. tuberculosis and M. leprae. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-224
Number of pages11
JournalClin. Immunol
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • tuberculosis
  • mycobacteria
  • alpha-galactosylceramide
  • invariant natural killer T cells
  • leprosy
  • CD1d
  • glycolipid


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