All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for November 2003

Natural killer T cells: natural or unnatural regulators of autoimmunity?

Curr Opin Immunol. 2003 Dec;15(6):683-689
Hammond KJ, Kronenberg M.
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, 10355 Science Center Drive, 92121, San Diego, CA, USA

Natural killer T (NKT) cells are a unique lymphocyte subtype implicated in the regulation of autoimmunity, particularly diabetes and experimental allergic encephalomyelitis in animal models.

In some reports, NKT-cell regulation was revealed only following vigorous activation by a synthetic glycolipid, a process that might not occur naturally.

Patients with diverse autoimmune diseases have reduced NKT-cell counts and, in diabetes and multiple sclerosis, effective NKT-cell regulation correlates with the secretion of Th2 cytokines.

Although current controversy surrounds the importance of NKT cells and their modes of action, they represent a potentially important clinical target.