Mechanisms of Innate Lymphoid Cell and Natural Killer T Cell Activation during Mucosal Inflammation
Natural killer T (NKT) cells are known to produce Th17 cytokine IL-17 in addition to Th1/2 cytokines. In this study, the ability of NKT cells to produce IL-22, another Th17 cytokine, was examined in mice. When murine spleen cells were stimulated with alpha-galactosyl ceramide, a ligand for NKT cells, not only Th1/2 cytokines (IFN-gamma, IL-4) but Th17 cytokines (IL-17, IL-22) were produced. NKT cells isolated from splenocytes released IL-17 and IL-22 following CD3, CD3/IL-2 or CD3/CD28 stimulation, in which CD3/CD28 costimulation was most effective. Production of IL-17 and IL-22 in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from splenocytes was little, if any, even after CD3/CD28 costimulation. Treatment with IL-6/TGF-beta decreased CD3/CD28-stimulated production of IL-22, but not that of IL-17, in NKT cells. These findings show for the first time that NKT cells are a cell source of IL-22, and that expression of two Th17 cytokines might be regulated in NKT cells by different mechanisms.