Invariant NKT (iNKT) cells are a distinct subset of T lymphocytes that recognize glycolipid Ags. Upon TCR stimulation, iNKT cells promptly secrete a wide range of cytokines and therefore have been investigated as a target for immunotherapy. However, after primary activation, iNKT cells become hyporesponsive toward their ligand (anergy). The further mechanism behind iNKT cell anergy is poorly understood. We found that a low level of programmed death-1 (PD-1) was constitutively expressed on iNKT cells and that PD-1 expression was increased after stimulation and lasted at least 2 mo. Moreover, not only did blocking of the PD-1/PDligand1(PD-L1) pathway prevent the induction of anergy in iNKT cells, but anergic iNKT cells also recovered responsiveness and these "rescued" cells efficiently mediated antitumor immunity. Our findings suggest that the PD-1/PD-L1 interaction is essential for the induction and maintenance of iNKT cell anergy.