We assessed the role of the nonclassical class I molecule, CD1d, in the interaction between intestinal epithelial cells and T cells. In a mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) system where the stimulator cells were irradiated normal intestinal cells, the anti-CD1d monoclonal antibody (mAb) 3C11 inhibited T cell proliferation. In contrast, no inhibition was seen when mAb 3C11 was added to conventional MLR cultures (non T cell stimulators). Furthermore, no inhibition was seen when either airway epithelial cells were used as stimulator cells or lamina propria lymphocytes were used as responder cells. These latter two conditions along with a conventional MLR favor CD4+ T cell proliferation. However, we have previously shown that normal intestinal epithelial cells stimulate CD8+ T cells under similar culture conditions. Thus, CD1d expressed on intestinal epithelial cells may be an important ligand in CD8+ T cell-epithelial cell interactions.

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