Neutrophilic granulocytes modulate invariant NKT cell function in mice and humans

Gerhard Wingender, Marcus Hiss, Isaac Engel, Konrad Peukert, Klaus Ley, Hermann Haller, Mitchell Kronenberg, Sibylle Von Vietinghoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Invariant NKT (iNKT) cells are a conserved αβTCR + T cell population that can swiftly produce large amounts of cytokines, thereby activating other leukocytes, including neutrophilic granulocytes (neutrophils). In this study, we investigated the reverse relationship, showing that high neutrophil concentrations suppress the iNKT cell response in mice and humans. Peripheral Va14 iNKT cells from spontaneously neutrophilic mice produced reduced cytokines in response to the model iNKT cell Ag α-galactosyl ceramide and expressed lower amounts of the T-box transcription factor 21 and GATA3 transcription factor than did wild-type controls. This influence was extrinsic, as iNKT cell transcription factor expression in mixed chimeric mice depended on neutrophil count, not iNKT cell genotype. Transcription factor expression was also decreased in primary iNKT cells from the neutrophil-rich bone marrow compared with spleen in wild-type mice. In vitro, the function of both mouse and human iNKT cells was inhibited by coincubation with neutrophils. This required cell-cell contact with live neutrophils. Neutrophilic inflammation in experimental peritonitis in mice decreased iNKT cell T-box transcription factor 21 and GATA3 expression and α-galactosyl ceramide-induced cytokine production in vivo. This was reverted by blockade of neutrophil mobilization. Similarly, iNKT cells from the human peritoneal cavity expressed lower transcription factor levels during neutrophilic peritonitis. Our data reveal a novel regulatory axis whereby neutrophils reduce iNKT cell responses, which may be important in shaping the extent of inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3000-3008
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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