Int J Med Sci 2023; 20(5):652-662. doi:10.7150/ijms.83317 This issue Cite
Department of Clinical Laboratory, First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui, China
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is associated with increased incidence and mortality of many cancers and infectious diseases. CD3+CD56+ NKT-like cells play pivotal roles in tumor surveillance and infection control. However, little is known about potential alterations in circulating NKT-like cells in T2DM patients. In this study, we found that the frequency and absolute counts of circulating NKT-like cells were significantly lower in patients with T2DM compared to healthy volunteers. Moreover, in T2DM patients, NKT-like cells were impaired in their production of IFN-γ and TNF-α as well as degranulation capacity. The expression of activating receptor NKG2D was markedly decreased on NKT-like cells in T2DM patients, while the expression of inhibitory receptors Tim-3 and LAG-3 was upregulated. In detail, Tim-3+NKT-like cells expressed higher LAG-3 and less IFN-γ and TNF-α compared to Tim-3-NKT-like cells. Importantly, we further found that the expression of Tim-3 in NKT-like cells from T2DM patients correlated positively with glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and fasting blood glucose (FBG) levels, as well as with diabetes duration. In conclusion, these results indicate that NKT-like cells from T2DM patients display an exhausted phenotype and reduced functionality. Moreover, Tim-3 expression on NKT-like cells likely serves a novel biomarker for duration of T2DM.
Keywords: type 2 diabetes mellitus, NKT-like cells, Tim-3, dysfunction