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Cytometry. 1996 Dec 15;26(4):260-4.

Quantification of CD1a, HLA-DR, and HLA class I expression on viable human Langerhans cells and keratinocytes.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Montpellier, France.


In order to determine precisely the cellular density of surface molecules that are critical for antigen presentation in human epidermis, we utilized a quantitative immunofluorescence indirect assay and performed flow cytometric analysis of human epidermal cell (EC) suspensions. We first demonstrated that Tricolor-labeled streptavidin coupled to Cy-5 (SA-TC) was a reliable marker for non viable EC and that SA-TC+ EC accounted for the frequent nonspecific background of fluorescence due to isotype controls binding, although Langerhans cells (LC) and Keratinocytes (Kc) express Fc receptors for IgG on their surfaces. These results indicate that quantification of cell surface antigens on human EC requires the concomitant use of a marker of viability. Multicolor flow cytometric analysis allowed us to quantify CD1 molecules and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens on viable human LC and Kc. Our results demonstrated a weak expression of MHC class I molecules on viable LC (163 +/- 19 x 10(3) molecules/cell) compared to viable Kc (785 +/- 110 x 10(3) molecules/cell). Mean antigen density of HLA-DR and CD1a molecules on viable LC were 579 +/- 82 x 10(3) molecules/cell and 1600 +/- 133 x 10(3) molecules/cell, respectively. Quantitative flow cytometry of viable EC may be proposed to evaluate the number of membrane antigens whose level of expression is related to cellular maturation or activation that occurs in skin diseases.

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