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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1997 Nov;38(12):2662-71.

The immunogenic potential of human fetal retinal pigment epithelium and its relation to transplantation.

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1
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, University of Chicago, IL 60637, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To perform a quantitative analysis of the expression of major histocompatibility molecules (MHC classes I and II) and costimulatory molecules by human fetal retinal pigment epithelial (HFRPE) cells and to evaluate their potential role in providing costimulatory signals for the activation of human T cells in vitro.

METHODS:

Pure HFRPE cells were isolated and cultured. The ability of HFRPE cells to express MHC class I and II and costimulatory molecules before and after incubation with interferon (IFN)-gamma was quantitatively analyzed by flow cytometry. The potential of HFRPE cells to activate human T cells was assessed in three different lymphocyte activation models. In the first model, anti-CD3 (OKT3)-coated beads were used to provide the T-cell receptor (TcR) signal. In the second model, the allogenic potential of HFRPE cells was assessed, and in the third assay a potent superantigen (SEA) was used to provide the TcR signal. T-cell activation was determined by cell proliferation, measured by [3H]-thymidine incorporation.

RESULTS:

The cultured HFRPE cells expressed low levels of MHC class I and ICAM-1 molecules. After incubation with IFN-gamma, the expression of MHC class I and ICAM-1 molecules was further upregulated, and the expression of MHC class II and VCAM-1 molecules was induced. The expression of the costimulatory molecules B7-1 and B7-2 was not observed in normal or activated HFRPE cells. In the first T-cell activation model, neither normal nor IFN-gamma-activated HFRPE cells could provide T-cell costimulation for anti-CD3 (OKT3)-coated beads. However, the autologous peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs; used here as the source of antigen-presenting cells) could provide costimulation for the T cells, inducing their proliferation. In the second T-cell activation assay, normal or IFN-gamma-activated HFRPE cells could not stimulate an alloresponse from the T cells, but they could induce a significant alloimmune T-cell response in the presence of PBMCs. In the third T-cell activation assay, the IFN-gamma-activated HFRPE cells were able to provide T-cell costimulation for the SEA-mediated activation.

CONCLUSIONS:

In these in vitro experiments, the IFN-gamma-activated HFRPE cells stimulated only the T cells with the potent superantigen SEA. In the absence of antigen-presenting cells, the HFRPE cells did not provide T-cell costimulation in an anti-CD3 mAb-coated bead system or induce significant alloimmune response. These results suggest that in transplantation between donors and recipients with different MHC molecules, the direct MHC peptide presentation by HFRPE cells may not induce a significant allospecific immune response. Nevertheless, an allospecific immune response could occur as a consequence of the indirect presentation, to the host T cells by the host antigen-presenting cells, of the HFRPE cells' derived MHC alloantigens.

PMID:
9375586
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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