Potent expansion of human natural killer T cells using alpha-galactosylceramide (KRN7000)-loaded monocyte-derived dendritic cells, cultured in the presence of IL-7 and IL-15

J Immunol Methods. 2001 Jan 1;247(1-2):61-72. doi: 10.1016/s0022-1759(00)00272-6.


Natural killer T (NKT) cells have an extremely restricted T-cell receptor repertoire, in man consisting of a Valpha24 chain preferentially paired with a Vbeta11 chain, and play crucial roles in various immune responses. Characterization of circulating Valpha24(+)Vbeta11(+)-T cells is hampered by their low frequencies. The alpha-galactosylceramide KRN7000 was reported to be presented by CD1d to NKT cells. Since dendritic cells (DC) are potent antigen presenting cells, and have been shown to express CD1d, we analyzed whether these cells could efficiently mediate expansion of Valpha24(+)Vbeta11(+)-T cells. During a 7-day co-culture of peripheral blood mononuclear cells and KRN7000-loaded mature monocyte derived DC (moDC) in the presence of interleukin-7 (IL-7) and IL-15, we observed up to 76-fold expansion of Valpha24(+)Vbeta11(+)-T cells. The expanded Valpha24(+)Vbeta11(+)-T cells expressed the cytotoxic molecule granzyme B, showed negligible expression of Fas ligand and could be induced to express high levels of interferon-gamma, while retaining the capacity to produce IL-4. B cells, expressing CD1d, could also present KRN7000, but Valpha24(+)Vbeta11(+)-T cell expansion was only observed in the presence of IL-7 and/or IL-15. Considering the low frequency of circulating Valpha24(+)Vbeta11(+)-T cells, the present method for expansion of Valpha24(+)Vbeta11(+)-T cells using KRN7000-loaded mature moDC will be of value for the further characterization of this unique T cell subset.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD1 / biosynthesis
  • Antigens, CD1 / immunology
  • Antigens, CD1d
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Female
  • Galactosylceramides / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-15 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-15 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-7 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-7 / pharmacology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / cytology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / cytology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Male
  • Monocytes / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / immunology*


  • Antigens, CD1
  • Antigens, CD1d
  • CD1D protein, human
  • Galactosylceramides
  • Interleukin-15
  • Interleukin-7
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • KRN 7000