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Gastroenterology. 1992 Aug;103(2):439-47.

Major histocompatibility class II expression on the small intestinal nervous system in Crohn's disease.

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  • 1Department of Medical Research, University Hospital St. Rafael, Louvain, Belgium.


Widespread alterations of the gut autonomic nervous system have been described in Crohn's disease. Immunohistochemistry shows that these alterations are associated with the expression of major histocompatibility (MHC) class II antigens (HLA-DR) on enteroglial cells in the ganglia of the submucous and myenteric plexuses and on the enteroglial sheaths of the nerve extensions. Neuronal cell bodies and extensions do not express MHC class II antigens. The class II expression is associated with the presence of UCHL1-positive T lymphocytes. MHC class II expression can also be found on endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells but not on smooth muscle cells of the muscularis mucosae or propria. The intensity of MHC class II expression on the glial cells of the enteric nervous plexus and on endothelial cells correlates well with the intensity of class II expression on epithelial cells.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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