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Gastroenterology. 1996 Apr;110(4):1175-81.

Antigen-presenting function and B7 expression of murine sinusoidal endothelial cells and Kupffer cells.

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Department of Medicine, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.



Inflammatory liver disease as well as rejection of liver allografts are thought to be mediated by resident antigen-presenting cells in the liver. At the same time, in vivo antigen presentation in the liver appears to be a more tolerogenic than systemic antigen challenge. The aim of this study was to show and characterize the antigen-presenting capability of sinusoidal endothelial cells and Kupffer cells.


Purified murine sinusoidal endothelial cells and Kupffer cells were studied for their ability to serve as accessory cells and antigen-presenting cells by proliferation assays. They were also studied for their expression of interleukin 1 and the B7 costimulatory molecules by Northern blotting, polymerase chain reaction, and flow cytometry.


Both cell types expressed interleukin 1 messenger RNA and could serve equally well as accessory and antigen-presenting cells. B7-2 messenger RNA and surface expression on sinusoidal endothelial cells and on Kupffer cells was shown. Antibodies to the B7 molecules inhibited antigen presentation. Addition of interleukin 10 as a regulatory cytokine secreted by Kupffer cells was suppressive.


Sinusoidal endothelial cells carry functional B7-2 molecules and can serve as effective antigen-presenting cells. However, antigen presentation by sinusoidal endothelial cells may be locally down-regulated by interleukin 10.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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