Invariant Natural Killer T Cells Promote T Cell Immunity by Modulating the Function of Lung Dendritic Cells during Chlamydia pneumoniae Infection

Sudhanshu Shekhar, Antony George Joyee, Xiaoling Gao, Ying Peng, Shuhe Wang, Jie Yang, Xi Yang
Journal of Innate Immunity 2015, 7 (3): 260-74
In this study, we examined the effect of invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells on the function of lung dendritic cells (LDCs) in eliciting protective immunity against Chlamydia pneumoniae (Cpn) lung infection. We employed a combination of approaches including the use of iNKT cell-deficient, Jα18-knockout (KO) mice and LDC adoptive transfer. We found that iNKT cells significantly altered the number, phenotype and cytokine profile of LDCs following infection. Furthermore, coculture of T cells with LDCs from Cpn-infected wild-type (WT) and KO mice induced type-1 and type-2 responses, respectively. More importantly, upon adoptive transfer, LDCs from Cpn-infected WT mice (WT-LDCs) conferred protective immunity, whereas LDCs from KO mice (KO-LDCs) increased the severity of disease after challenge infection. Further cytokine analyses of the lung tissues and lung-draining lymph node cells showed that KO-LDC-recipient mice exhibited a type-2 cytokine production pattern, while WT-LDC recipients exhibited a type-1 cytokine profile. Taken together, our results provide in vivo evidence that iNKT cells play a critical role in modulating LDC function to generate protective T-cell immunity, particularly in a clinically relevant intracellular bacterial infection.

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