Expression of invariant chain (CD 74) and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II antigens in the human fetus

Sunil Badve, Charuhas Deshpande, Zhongxue Hua, Lennart Lögdberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

During the initiation of an immune response, antigen-presenting cells employ MHC class II antigens as key molecules to present small peptides to CD4-positive lymphocytes. The invariant chain (Ii; CD74) plays a critical role in this process by influencing the expression and peptide loading of the MHC class II molecules. Therefore, coordinate expression of these molecules is believed to play an important role in antigen presentation. This study explores the expression of these molecules in fetal tissues. Formalin-fixed, paraffinembedded multi-organ tissue blocks from aborted fetuses (age range 7-22 weeks) were immunostained for li/CD74 and MHC class II antigens using commercially available monoclonal antibodies for li/CD74 (LN2) and MHC class II antigens (LN3), respectively. Coordinate staining for li/CD74 and MHC class II antigens was seen in the skin, proximal renal tubules, tips of small intestinal mucosa, and cells of the reticuloendothelial system, including the spleen and thymus. Expression of li/CD74, but not of MHC class II antigens, was seen in pulmonary alveolar epithelium in all cases and in testicular Leydig cells (11 of 11 testes examined). The distribution and intensity of staining did not change significantly with age. In conclusion, this study describes distribution of li/CD74 and MHC class II antigens in human fetal tissues. Coordinate expression of li/CD74 and MHC class II antigens was identified in most fetal tissues, but there were also notable exceptions. In all cases this took the form of expression of li/CD74 in the absence of MHC class II expression. Discordance was particularly striking in pulmonary alveolar epithelium and testicular Leydig cells. This suggests that the li/CD74 molecule has functional roles in addition to its role in antigen presentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-482
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Volume50
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • CD74
  • Discordance
  • Fetal tissues
  • Invariant chain
  • LN2
  • LN3
  • MHC class II

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology

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