Activation of natural killer T cells by α-galactosylceramide rapidly induces the full maturation of dendritic cells in vivo and thereby acts as an adjuvant for combined CD4 and CD8 T cell immunity to a coadministered protein
α-galactosylceramide, dendritic cell maturation, exogenous pathway, T cell-mediated immunity
The maturation of dendritic cells (DCs) allows these antigen-presenting cells to initiate immunity. We pursued this concept in situ by studying the adjuvant action α-galactosylceramide (αGalCer) in mice. A single i.v. injection of glycolipid induced the full maturation of splenic DCs, beginning within 4 h. Maturation was manifest by marked increases in costimulator and major histocompatibility complex class II expression, interferon (IFN)-γ production, and stimulation of the mixed leukocyte reaction. These changes were not induced directly by αGalCer but required natural killer T (NKT) cells acting independently of the MyD88 adaptor protein. To establish that DC maturation was responsible for the adjuvant role of αGalCer, mice were given αGalCer together with soluble or cell-associated ovalbumin antigen. Th1 type CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses developed, and the mice became resistant to challenge with ovalbumin-expressing tumor. DCs from mice given ovalbumin plus adjuvant, but not the non-DCs, stimulated ovalbumin-specific proliferative responses and importantly, induced antigen-specific, IFN-γ producing, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells upon transfer into naive animals. In the latter instance, immune priming did not require further exposure to ovalbumin, αGalCer, NKT, or NK cells. Therefore a single dose of αGalCer i.v. rapidly stimulates the full maturation of DCs in situ, and this accounts for the induction of combined Th1 CD4+ and CD8+ T cell immunity to a coadministered protein.
Fujii, S. -I, K. Shimizu, C. Smith, L. Bonifaz, and R. M. Steinman. 2003. "Activation of Natural Killer T Cells by α-Galactosylceramide Rapidly Induces the Full Maturation of Dendritic Cells in Vivo and Thereby Acts as an Adjuvant for Combined CD4 and CD8 T Cell Immunity to a Coadministered Protein." Journal of Experimental Medicine 198 (2): 267-279