Fas/FasL interaction mediates imbalanced cytokine/cytotoxicity responses of iNKT cells against Jurkat cells

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The rapid antitumor cytokine production and direct cytotoxicity confer invariant NKT (iNKT) cells ideal candidates for cancer therapy. However, the therapeutic potential of iNKT cells in T-cell malignant diseases remains elusive, as antigen presentation by T cells (T-T presentation) has been suggested to induce hyporesponsiveness of iNKT cells. In this study, we found discrepancies in iNKT cell responses against two T cell-origin cell lines (Jurkat and Molt-4). Human iNKT cells exhibited more intensive cytotoxicity and less efficient cytokine production in response to Fas-bearing Jurkat cells than those to the Fas-negative tumor cells (Molt-4 and myeloid-derived K562). The imbalanced cytokine/cytotoxicity responses of iNKT cells against Jurkat cells were CD1d-dependent and relied mostly on Fas/FasL interaction. The impairment in cytokine production could be overcome by Fas/FasL blocking antibodies and exogenous IL-2. Elevated CD1d levels as well as CD1d and Fas co-localization were found in T-cell lymphomas. However, defects in frequency and function of circulating iNKT cells were observed in the patients, which could be partly rescued by exogenous IL-2. Collectively, the Fas/FasL-dependent aberrant iNKT cell responses and the reversibility of the defects suggest the distinct iNKT cell manipulation in CD1d- and Fas-bearing T cell malignancies.

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