The presence of CD8+ invariant NKT cells in mice

Hyunji Lee, Changwan Hong, Junghoon Shin, Soohwan Oh, Sundo Jung, Yoon Kyung Park, Seokmann Hong, Gap Ryol Lee, Se Ho Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells develop in the thymus upon recognition of CD1d expressed on developing thymocytes. Although CD4 and CD8 coreceptors are not directly involved in the interaction between CD1d and the T cell receptors (TCRs) of iNKT cells, a conspicuous lack of CD8+ iNKT cells in mice raised the question of whether CD8+ iNKT cells are excluded due to negative selection during their thymic development, or if there is no lineage commitment for the development of murine CD8+ iNKT cells. To address this question, we analyzed iNKT cell-specific TCR Vα14+ transgenic mice, where the Vα14 transgene forces the generation of iNKT cells. This allows detailed study of the iNKT cell repertoire. We were able to identify CD8+ iNKT cells which respond to the NKT cell-specific glycolipid ligand α-galactosylceramide. Unlike conventional iNKT cells, CD8+ iNKT cells produce predominantly IFN-γ but not IL-4 upon antigen stimulation. We also confirmed the presence of CD8 + iNKT cells in wild type mice. Our results suggest that CD8 + NKT cells do exist in mice, although their population size is quite small. Their Th1-skewed phenotype might explain why the population size of this subtype needs to be controlled tightly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)866-872
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental and Molecular Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Dec 31


  • Antigens, CD1d
  • CD8-positive T-lymphocytes
  • Mice, transgenic
  • Natural killer T-cells
  • α-galactosylceramide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'The presence of CD8+ invariant NKT cells in mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this