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Eur J Cell Biol. 1993 Dec;62(2):333-42.

APP+ T lymphocytes selectively sorted to endomysial tubes in polymyositis displace NCAM-expressing muscle fibers.

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Institute of Medical Neurobiology, University of Magdeburg, Germany.


The characteristic pathogenic feature of polymyositis (PM) is muscle invasion by T lymphocytes penetrating the basal lamina and displacing the sarcolemma of normal muscle fibers (T cell invasion of endomysial tubes). Active forward movement of these T cells is indicated by cell extensions interdigitating with the muscle fiber surface. Here we describe for the first time high abundance of Alzheimer amyloid protein precursor (APP) in invasive T cells contacting the border of muscle fibers in PM. These are the sites of muscle fiber displacement. The percentage of APP+ T cells at these sites is significantly higher than in other neuromuscular disorders with inflammatory infiltrates suggesting a specific pathogenic function of these cells in PM. By using a new multiparameter immunofluorescence imaging procedure and confocal laser scanning microscopy, we show that APP+ T cells in PM are invasive front cells that penetrate the basal lamina of the endomysial tube and displace the muscle fiber. Mononuclear cells behind the invasive front are negative for APP or show much lower APP levels. Front T cells either express the CD8-CD4+APP+ or CD8+CD4-APP+ phenotypes, or are CD4+CD8+APP+ T cell chimeras. The highest APP concentration is found at the tip of T cell extensions interdigitating with the fiber surface. Although normal by morphological criteria, the same fibers show intense staining for the regeneration marker NCAM. This reactivity is highest at sites contacted by the APP+ T cells. The findings indicate that APP is specifically upregulated in T cells displacing muscle fibers in PM and suggest that NCAM, which may be abnormally regulated in these fibers, is a candidate molecule for interaction with APP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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