Harnessing invariant NKT cells to improve influenza vaccines: a pig perspective
Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are an "innate-like" T cell lineage that recognize glycolipid rather than peptide antigens by their semi-invariant T cell receptors. Because iNKT cells can stimulate an extensive array of immune responses, there is considerable interest in targeting these cells to enhance human vaccines against a wide range of microbial pathogens. However, long overlooked is the potential to harness iNKT cell antigens as vaccine adjuvants for domestic animal species that express the iNKT cell-CD1d system. In this review, we discuss the prospect of targeting porcine iNKT cells as a strategy to enhance the efficiency of swine influenza vaccines. In addition, we compare the phenotype and tissue distribution of porcine iNKT cells. Finally, we discuss the challenges that must be overcome before iNKT cell agonists can be contemplated for veterinary use in livestock.