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Brain. 2003 May;126(Pt 5):1026-35.

Muscle fibres and cultured muscle cells express the B7.1/2-related inducible co-stimulatory molecule, ICOSL: implications for the pathogenesis of inflammatory myopathies.

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Department of Neurology, University of Tübingen, Medical School, Tübingen, Germany.


Inducible co-stimulator ligand (ICOSL), a member of the B7 family of co-stimulatory molecules related to B7.1/2, regulates CD4 as well as CD8 T-cell responses via interaction with its receptor ICOS on activated T cells. Here we examined the expression and the functional relevance of ICOSL in human muscle cells in vivo and in vitro. We investigated 25 muscle biopsy specimens from patients with polymyositis, dermatomyositis, inclusion body myositis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and non-myopathic controls for ICOSL expression by immunohistochemistry. Normal muscle fibres constitutively express low levels of ICOSL. However, ICOSL expression is markedly increased in muscle fibres in inflammatory myopathies. Cell surface staining was most prominent in the contact areas between muscle fibres and inflammatory cells, which in turn show expression of ICOS as a marker of T-cell activation. Muscle endothelial cells show constitutive expression of ICOSL under normal and pathological conditions. We also detected mRNA and cell surface protein expression of ICOSL on myoblasts cultured from control subjects and patients as well as in TE671 muscle rhabdomyosarcoma cells. ICOSL expression was upregulated by tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), whereas interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) had no such effect. Co-culture experiments of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-positive myoblasts with CD4 T cells together with superantigen demonstrated that the expression of muscle-related ICOSL has functional consequences: the production of Th1 (IFN-gamma) and Th2 cytokines [interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-10] by CD4 T cells was markedly reduced in the presence of a neutralizing anti-ICOSL monoclonal antibody (mAb HIL-131), thus showing the importance of ICOSL co-stimulation for T-cell activation. Taken together, our results demonstrate that human muscle cells express ICOSL, a functional co-stimulatory molecule distinct from B7.1 and B7.2. ICOSL-ICOS interactions may play an important role in inflammatory myopathies, providing further evidence for the antigen-presenting capacity of muscle cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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