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Iatreia

Print version ISSN 0121-0793

Abstract

BAENA, Andrés; GOMEZ-GIRALDO, Lina  and  CARRENO, Leandro J. Activation mechanisms of invariant natural killer T cells (iNKTs). Iatreia [online]. 2016, vol.29, n.1, pp.51-64. ISSN 0121-0793.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17533/udea.iatreia.v29n1a05.

A great amount of knowledge on natural killer T cells (iNKTs) is now available, but a consensus about their activation mechanisms has not been reached. These cells recognize different glycolipid antigens through the CD1d molecule. Such antigens may be endogenous, derived from bacteria (foreign) and synthetic, the latter have been developed for clinical applications. There exists much interest in understanding how these different glycolipid compounds induce different types of polarization, but it has been difficult to reach a consensus due to the fact that responses depend on different factors such as: the nature of the molecule, the internalization process and the presentation of the glycolipids. Moreover, activation of iNKT cells is determined by the type and state of the antigen presenting cell, the co-stimulatory molecules, the transactivation mechanisms and the location of the glycolipid-CD1d complexes on the plasma membrane, such as the lipid rafts. This review explores the evidence about the factors that affect activation of iNKT cells in order to understand their immune-modulatory potential.

Keywords : α-Galactosylceramide; Antigen Presentation; CD1d; iNKT Cells; Glycolipids; TCR.

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