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Transplantation. 1997 May 15;63(9):1366-9.

Human cytomegalovirus does not induce human leukocyte antigen class II expression on arterial endothelial cells.

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Department of Pathology, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus 43210-1238, USA.


Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been associated with allograft rejection and, in particular, with transplant-associated arteriosclerosis. However, the role CMV plays in the development of transplant-associated arteriosclerosis remains unclear. CMV can infect the endothelium, the interface between allograft tissue and the host immune cells, but the direct induction of endothelial human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II by CMV remains controversial. Our previous studies with venous endothelial cells (EC) have shown that CMV does not directly induce this antigen on infected EC and, furthermore, renders these cells refractory to interferon (IFN)-gamma induction. However, questions have arisen regarding the relevance of these findings to arterial endothelia. Thus, we have extended these studies to determine whether similar interactions occur in arterial EC. EC derived from human coronary artery, aorta, and umbilical artery were assayed by immunofluorescence flow cytometry and dual immunohistochemical staining following IFN-gamma treatment and/or inoculation with CMV. Data generated by these experiments demonstrate that regardless of vascular origin: (1) CMV does not directly induce endothelial surface or cytoplasmic HLA class II, and (2) although uninfected arterial EC are HLA class II inducible by IFN-gamma, infected cells are completely refractory to this effect. These results suggest that CMV-mediated inhibition of HLA class II expression is a phenomenon shared by human arterial and venous endothelia of both fetal and adult origin.

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