CD1-dependent NK1+ T cells rapidly produce IL-4 upon stimulation through the TCR. These cells may therefore play an important role in the initiation of Th2 responses. Here, we show that NK1+ T cells constitutively express receptors for IL-12 and IFN-gamma, and that IL-12 induces production of perforin in these cells. Moreover, while IL-12 induces high levels of IFN-gamma and cytotoxic activity of hepatic or splenic mononuclear cells against tumor cells, this effect of IL-12 is significantly reduced in CD1-deficient mice with impaired NK1+ T cells development. These results indicate that NK1+ T cells play a critical role in IL-12-induced production of IFN-gamma to initiate Th1 immune responses and as IL-12-induced cytotoxic effector cells to initiate antitumor immunity.