Immunization-Expanded NKT Follicular Helper Cells Drive IgG1 Isotype Switch against an Exogenous T-Independent Polysaccharide but Do Not Promote Recall Responses

Immunohorizons. 2019 Mar;3(3):88-93. doi: 10.4049/immunohorizons.1800081.


The CD1d-binding glycolipid α-galactosylceramide (α-GC) is a potent adjuvant that activates NKT cells and in turn enhances T-dependent humoral immunity. Very little is known about how NKT cells and the NKT follicular helper (NKTfh) subset influence the immune response to T-independent polysaccharides. In this study, we used a Cre-Lox approach to generate mice devoid of the Bcl6 master transcription factor in CD4 lineage cells and thus devoid of NKTfh cells but not total NKT cells. It was observed that α-GC-driven IgG1 class switch against a polysaccharide Ag was dependent on the NKTfh subset. However, α-GC was unable to stimulate a polysaccharide-specific Ab recall response. It was observed that NKT-derived IL-21 was able to exert limited influence on the IgG1 response and was therefore likely to work in concert with other factors. This work shows that α-GC-driven NKTfh cells can direct polysaccharide-specific B cell responses by promoting IgG1 class switch but do not provide signals needed for generation of polysaccharide-specific B cell memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Cell Communication
  • Female
  • Galactosylceramides / immunology
  • Immunization
  • Immunoglobulin Class Switching / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin Class Switching / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin G / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Natural Killer T-Cells / immunology*
  • Natural Killer T-Cells / metabolism
  • Polysaccharides / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / metabolism


  • Galactosylceramides
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Polysaccharides
  • alpha-galactosylceramide