The regulatory role of Valpha14 NKT cells in innate and acquired immune response

Annu Rev Immunol. 2003:21:483-513. doi: 10.1146/annurev.immunol.21.120601.141057. Epub 2001 Dec 19.


A novel lymphocyte lineage, Valpha14 natural killer T (NKT) cells, is now well established as distinct from conventional alphabeta T cells. Valpha14 NKT cells express a single invariant Valpha14 antigen receptor that is essential for their development. Successful identification of a specific ligand, alpha-galactosylceramide(alpha-GalCer), and the establishment of gene-manipulated mice with selective loss of Valpha14 NKT cells helped elucidate the remarkable functional diversity of Valpha14 NKT cells in various immune responses such as host defense by mediating anti-nonself innate immune reaction, homeostatic regulation of anti-self responses, and antitumor immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Infections / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / cytology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Ligands
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Multigene Family
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / metabolism*
  • Selection, Genetic
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta