Immune suppression and skin cancer development: regulation by NKT cells

Nat Immunol. 2000 Dec;1(6):521-5. doi: 10.1038/82782.


Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is carcinogenic and immunosuppressive. UV-induced immune suppression is mediated by antigen-specific T cells, which can transfer suppression to normal recipients. These cells are essential for controlling skin cancer development in the UV-irradiated host and in suppressing other immune responses, such as delayed-type hypersensitivity. Despite their importance in skin cancer development, their exact identity has remained elusive. We show here that natural killer T cells from UV-irradiated donor mice function as suppressor T cells and play a critical role in regulating the growth of UV-induced skin cancers and suppressing adaptive immune responses in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens / administration & dosage
  • Antigens, CD1 / genetics
  • Antigens, CD1 / metabolism
  • Female
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / immunology
  • Skin Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Spleen / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • Antigens
  • Antigens, CD1