NKT cell-derived urokinase-type plasminogen activator promotes peripheral tolerance associated with eye

Koh Hei Sonoda, Takahiko Nakamura, Howard A. Young, David Hart, Peter Carmeliet, Joan Stein-Streilein

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17 Citations (Scopus)


In a model of peripheral tolerance called anterior chamber-associated immune deviation (ACAID), the differentiation of the T regulatory cells depends on NKT cells and occurs in the spleen. In this study, we show that NKT cells that express the invariant (i) TCR and are the CD1d-reactive NKT cells (required for development of peripheral tolerance) actually produced urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) during tolerance induction. The RT-PCR and in vitro plasmin assay showed that splenic iNKT cells derived uPA-converted plasminogen to plasmin. Moreover, uPA was required for tolerance induction because uPA knockout (KO) mice did not develop peripheral tolerance or develop CD8 + T regulatory cells after Ag inoculation into the anterior chamber. In contrast, other aspects of ACAID-induced tolerance, including recruitment of iNKT cells to the spleen and production of IL-10 by iNKT cells, were unchanged in uPA-deficient mice. The adoptive transfer of splenic NKT cells from wild-type mice restored ACAID in Jα18 KO mice (iNKT cell deficient), but NKT cells from uPA KO mice did not. We postulate that the mechanism of action of uPA is through its binding to the uPAR receptor, and enzymatic cleavage of plasminogen to plasmin, which in turn activates latent TGFβ. In conclusion, uPA derived from iNKT cells is required to induce peripheral tolerance via the eye.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2215-2222
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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