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Susanna Cardell research group

The role of natural killer T (NKT) lymphocytes in the regulation of autoimmunity and inflammation

Our research investigates the differentiation and function of natural killer T (NKT) lymphocytes, using models for infection, tumor development and autoimmune diseases. The aim is to determine regulatory features and effector mechanisms of these innate-like lymphocytes in the context of inflammation and infection. Our long term goal is to acquire knowledge that can be used to design immunotherapies to modulate harmful or insufficient immunity. We are part of the Mucosal Immunobiology and Vaccine Center (MIVAC).

Natural killer T (NKT) lymphocytes make up a subset of T lymphocytes, which is activated by glycolipid antigens presented on the non-classical MHC class I like molecule CD1d. The cells are associated with early immune responses and immune regulation, and are regarded as part of a crucial first line of defense that bridges the innate and adaptive immune response. NKT cells regulate the immune response in diverse situations, such as autoimmune diseases in humans and mice, tumor rejection and different types of infections.

Several reports have shown that CD1d-restricted natural killer (NK) T cells can protect against experimentally induced or spontaneous autoimmune disease in the mouse. The disease most well investigated in this respect is autoimmune or Type 1 diabetes (T1D). We investigate the regulatory role of NKT cells in the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse strain, which develops spontaneous Type 1 Diabetes very similar to the human disease. The glycolipid ligands that activate NKT cells are still mostly unknown, and we are using our unique NKT cell lines to define additional ligands. We are also investigating further the previously identified ligand sulfatide and sulfatide specific CD1d-restricted NKT cells, and their regulatory role in inflammation. Finally, we are addressing the mechanisms of tumor immunity mediated by NKT cell subsets in tumor models.

Further information:



Group members

Susanna Cardell, PhD, group leader, professor

Linda Löfbom, MSc, biochemist
Sara Rhost, PhD, postdoc
Prabanshu Tripathi, PhD, postdoc
Ying Wang, PhD student
Urszula Chursa, master student
Veronica Langenes, PhD, postdoc

Sidansvarig: Dan Baeckström|Sidan uppdaterades: 2011-05-17

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