A population of CD62Llow Nk1.1- CD4+ T cells that resembles NK1.1+ CD4+ T cells

Eur J Immunol. 1998 Oct;28(10):3172-82. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1521-4141(199810)28:10<3172::AID-IMMU3172>3.0.CO;2-I.


In MHC class II-/- C57BL/6 (II-/-) mouse spleen, a small population of CD4+ T cells is present of which NK1.1+ CD4+ (NK) T cells comprise 40 to 45%. We report here that many of the NK1.1- CD4+ T cells derived from II-/- mice are also NK T cells. They produce large amounts of IL-4 in response to anti-CD3 ligation and do so without any requirement for the presence of IL-4 in the priming culture, a property characteristic of NK T cells. Their IFN-gamma production is large and is enhanced by IL-12. In addition, II-/- NK1.1- CD4+ T cells produce IL-4 as a result of culture with L cells expressing murine CD1 (L-CD1). We report that CD49b, a component of integrin VLA-2, is expressed on the majority of both NK1.1+ and NK1.1- NK T cells. NK1.1- NK T cells also exist in wild-type C57BL/6 mice. Evidence supporting this is that Vbeta8 usage by CD62Llow NK1.1- CD4+ T cells was approximately 5% higher than that by CD62Lhigh CD4+ T cells in wild-type mice in keeping with the estimated proportion of NK1.1- NK T cells in the CD62Llow population. CD62Llow CD4+ T cells from beta2-m(-/-) mice, which lack NK T cells, showed no increase in Vbeta8 usage. When activated by anti-CD3 or L-CD1, CD62Llow NK1.1- CD4+ T cells from conventional but not beta2-m(-/-) and CD1-/- mice produce IL-4 in a manner indistinguishable from II-/- NK1.1- CD4+ T cells. NK1.1- NK T cells in normal mouse spleens are approximately as numerous as NK1.1+ NK T cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens / immunology*
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Antigens, CD1 / immunology
  • Antigens, Ly
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Biomarkers
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / genetics
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / immunology
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Integrin alpha2
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • L-Selectin / immunology*
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily B
  • Proteins / immunology*
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Spleen / immunology
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / genetics
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / immunology


  • Antigens
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, CD1
  • Antigens, Ly
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Biomarkers
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Integrin alpha2
  • Klrb1c protein, mouse
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily B
  • Proteins
  • beta 2-Microglobulin
  • L-Selectin
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma