Reduced CD4+ subset and Th1 bias of the human iNKT cells in Type 1 diabetes mellitus

Janos Kis, Peter Engelmann, Klara Farkas, Geoffrey Richman, Shawn Eck, James Lolley, Heyam Jalahej, Maciej Borowiec, Sally C. Kent, Andras Treszl, Tihamer Orban

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43 Citations (Scopus)


Invariant NKT (iNKT) cells are considered to be important in some autoimmune diseases including Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). So far, the published data are contradictory in regard to the role of iNKT cells in T1DM. We aimed to study iNKT cell frequency and the function of different iNKT cell subgroups in T1DM. We compared the results of four subject groups: healthy (H), long-term T2DM (ltT2DM; more than 1 year), newly diagnosed T1DM (ndT1DM; less than 3 months), and ltT1DM (more than 1 year) individuals. We measured the iNKT cell frequencies by costaining for the invariant TCR α-chain with 6B11-FITC and Vα24-PE. After sorting the Vα24+6B11+ cells, the generated iNKT clones were characterized. We tested CD4, CD8, and CD161 expression and IL-4 and IFN-γ production on TCR stimulation. The CD4+ population among the iNKT cells was decreased significantly in ltT1DM versus ndT1DM, ltT2DM, or H individuals. The T1DM iNKT cell cytokine profile markedly shifted to the Th1 direction. There was no difference in the frequency of iNKT cells in PBMC among the different patient groups. The decrease in the CD4+ population among the iNKT cells and their Th1 shift indicates dysfunction of these potentially important regulatory cells in T1DM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)654-662
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2007


  • Autoimmunity
  • Cytokines
  • Vα24+6B11+ cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology

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    Kis, J., Engelmann, P., Farkas, K., Richman, G., Eck, S., Lolley, J., Jalahej, H., Borowiec, M., Kent, S. C., Treszl, A., & Orban, T. (2007). Reduced CD4+ subset and Th1 bias of the human iNKT cells in Type 1 diabetes mellitus. Journal of Leukocyte Biology, 81(3), 654-662.