CD41 T cells enable the critical B cell humoral immune protection afforded by most effective vaccines. We and others have recently identified an alternative source of help for B cells in mice, invariant NK T (iNKT) cells. iNKT cells are innate glycolipid-specific T cells restricted to the nonpolymorphic Ag-presenting molecule CD1d. As such, iNKT cells respond to glycolipids equally well in all people, making them an appealing adjuvant for universal vaccines. We tested the potential for the iNKT glycolipid agonist, a-galactosylceramide (aGC), to serve as an adjuvant for a known human protective epitope by creating a nanoparticle that delivers aGC plus antigenic polysaccharides from Streptococcus pneumoniae. aGC-embedded nanoparticles activate murine iNKT cells and B cells in vitro and in vivo, facilitate significant dose sparing, and avoid iNKT anergy. Nanoparticles containing aGC plus S. pneumoniae polysaccharides elicits robust IgM and IgG in vivo and protect mice against lethal systemic S. pneumoniae. However, codelivery of aGC via nanoparticles actually eliminated Ab protection elicited by a T-independent S. pneumoniae vaccine. This is consistent with previous studies demonstrating iNKT cell help for B cells following acute activation, but negative regulation of B cells during chronic inflammation. aGC-containing nanoparticles represent a viable platform for broadly efficacious vaccines against deadly human pathogens, but their potential for eliminating B cells under certain conditions suggests further clarity on iNKT cell interactions with B cells is warranted. The Journal of Immunology, 2021, 206: 1806–1816.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy