Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are a subset of innate-like lymphocytes that recognize glycolipid antigens bound by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-class-I-related protein CD1d. iNKT cells are activated early during a variety of infections and inflammatory diseases and contribute to the subsequent development of adaptive immune responses. Consequently, iNKT cells play a critical role in the development and resolution of inflammatory diseases and represent attractive targets for the development of immunotherapies. Recent studies have provided important insight into the mechanisms by which iNKT cells become activated in response to diverse inflammatory stimuli. These new findings should be instrumental to promote the immunomodulatory properties of iNKT cells for treatment of inflammatory diseases.
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