Influenza A viruses (IAV) are a major cause of respiratory diseases in pigs. Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are an innate-like T cell subset that contribute significantly to IAV resistance in mice. In the current work, we explored whether expanding and activating iNKT with the iNKT cell superagonists α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) would change the course of an IAV infection in pigs. In one study, α-GalCer was administered to pigs intramuscularly (i.m.) 9 days before infection, which systemically expanded iNKT cells. In another study, α-GalCer was administered intranasally (i.n.) 2 days before virus infection to activate mucosal iNKT cells. Despite a synergistic increase in iNKT cells when α-GalCer i.m. treated pigs were infected with IAV, neither approach reduced disease signs, lung pathology, or virus replication. Our results indicate that prophylactic use of iNKT cell agonists to prevent IAV infection is ineffective in pigs, which is significant because this type of approach is being considered for humans that are more similar to pigs than mice for iNKT cells and IAV infections.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.