Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Development of invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells requires the presentation of lipid ligand(s) by CD1d molecules in the thymus. The glycosphingolipid (GSL) isoglobotrihexosylceramide (iGb3) has been proposed as the natural iNKT cell-selecting ligand in the thymus and to be involved in peripheral activation of iNKT cells by dendritic cells (DCs). However, there is no direct biochemical evidence for the presence of iGb3 in mouse or human thymus or DCs. Using a highly sensitive HPLC assay, the only tissue where iGb3 could be detected in mouse was the dorsal root ganglion (DRG). iGb3 was not detected in other mouse or any human tissues analyzed, including thymus and DCs. Even in mutant mice that store isoglobo-series GSLs in the DRG, we were still unable to detect these GSLs in the thymus. iGb3 is therefore unlikely to be a physiologically relevant iNKT cell-selecting ligand in mouse and humans. A detailed study is now warranted to better understand the nature of iNKT cell-selecting ligand(s) in vivo.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





5971 - 5976


Animals, Antigens, CD1, Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid, Dendritic Cells, Ganglia, Spinal, Globosides, Humans, Killer Cells, Natural, Ligands, Mammals, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Knockout, Mice, Mutant Strains, Thymus Gland