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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Nov 1; 90(21): 9944–9948.

Transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) controls expression of major histocompatibility genes in the postnatal mouse: aberrant histocompatibility antigen expression in the pathogenesis of the TGF-beta 1 null mouse phenotype.


The phenotype of the transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) null mouse has been previously described and is characterized by inflammatory infiltrates in multiple organs leading to a wasting syndrome and death as early as 3 weeks after birth. Since this phenotype occurs in the absence of any detectable pathogen, potential autoimmune disease mechanisms were investigated. We examined major histocompatibility complex (MHC) mRNA expression in tissues of the TGF-beta 1 null mouse and found levels of both the class I and class II MHC mRNA elevated compared to normal or TGF-beta 1 heterozygous littermates. This elevated expression was seen prior to any evidence of inflammatory infiltrates, suggesting a causal relationship between increased MHC expression and activation of immune cell populations. Cell surface expression of MHC molecules was detected by immunohistochemistry and correlated well with mRNA levels. Expression of mRNA for interferon gamma and its receptor was unchanged at the ages when increased MHC expression became apparent. Down-regulation of class I MHC expression by TGF-beta 1 was also demonstrated in vitro in fibroblasts isolated from TGF-beta 1 null mice. These findings suggest that one natural function of TGF-beta 1 is to control expression of both MHC classes. Altered regulation of MHC expression may be a critical step leading to the multifocal inflammation and wasting syndrome seen in the TGF-beta 1 null mouse. These results suggest potential applications for TGF-beta in the management of autoimmune disease, allograft rejection, and other problems associated with altered MHC expression.

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    Transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) controls expression of major histocompatibility genes in the postnatal mouse: aberrant histocompatibility antigen expression in the pathogenesis of the TGF-beta 1 null mouse phenotype.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 1993 Nov 1; 90(21)9944

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