Innate lymphoid cells and natural killer T cells in the gastrointestinal tract immune system

Enrique Montalvillo, José Antonio Garrote, David Bernardo, Eduardo Arranz
2014 Revista Espanola de Enfermedades Digestivas  
The gastrointestinal tract is equipped with a highly specialized intrinsic immune system. However, the intestine is exposed to a high antigenic burden that requires a fast, nonspecific response -so-called innate immunity- to maintain homeostasis and protect the body from incoming pathogens. In the last decade multiple studies helped to unravel the particular developmental requirements and specific functions of the cells that play a role in innate immunity. In this review we shall focus on
more » ... hall focus on innate lymphoid cells, a newly discovered, heterogeneous set of cells that derive from an Id2-dependent lymphoid progenitor cell population. These cells have been categorized on the basis of the pattern of cytokines that they secrete, and the transcription factors that regulate their development and functions. Innate lymphoid cells play a role in the early response to pathogens, the anatomical contention of the commensal flora, and the maintenance of epithelial integrity.Amongst the various innate lymphoid cells we shall lay emphasis on a subpopulation with several peculiarities, namely that of natural killer T cells, a subset of T lymphocytes that express both T-cell and NK-cell receptors. The most numerous fraction of the NKT population are the so-called invariant NKT or iNKT cells. These iNKT cells have an invariant TCR and recognize the glycolipidic structures presented by the CD1d molecule, a homolog of class-I MHC molecules. Following activation they rapidly acquire cytotoxic activity and secrete both Th1 and Th2 cytokines, including IL-17. While their specific role is not yet established, iNKT cells take part in a great variety of intestinal immune responses ranging from oral tolerance to involvement in a number of gastrointestinal conditions.
pmid:25287236 fatcat:j2oga3q7tnbnph4l6strw2xdgi