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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 10, Issue 2-4, Pages 213-226

Magnitude of Alloresponses to MHC Class I/II Expressing Human Cardiac Myocytes Is Limited by Their Intrinsic Ability to Process and Present Antigenic Peptides

1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA
2Molecular Immunology Group, Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK
3Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA
4Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In this investigation we have explored the relationship between the weak allogenicity of cardiac myocytes and their capacity to present allo-antigens by examining the ability of a human cardiac myocyte cell line (W-1) to process and present nominal antigens. W-1 cells (HLA-A*0201 and HLA-DR β1*0301) pulsed with the influenza A matrix 1 (58-66) peptide (M1) were able to serve as targets for the HLA-A*0201 restricted CTL line PG, specific for M1-peptide. However, PG-CTLs were unable to lyse W-1 target cells infected with a recombinant vaccinia virus expressing the M1 protein (M1-VAC). Pretreatment of these M1-VAC targets with IFN-γ partially restored their ability to process and present the M1 peptide. However, parallel studies demonstrated that IFN-γ pretreated W-1's could not process tetanus toxin (TT) or present the TT(830-843) peptide to HLA-DR3 restricted TT-primed T cells. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR measurements revealed significantly lower constitutive levels of expression for MHC class I, TAP-1/2, and LMP-2/7 genes in W-1s that could be elevated by pretreatment with IFN-γ to values equal to or greater than those expressed in EBV-PBLs. However, mRNA levels for the genes encoding MHC class II, Ii, CIITA, and DMA/B were markedly lower in both untreated and IFN-γ pretreated W-1s relative to EBV-PBLs. Furthermore, pulse-chase analysis of the corresponding genes revealed significantly lower protein levels and longer half-life expression in W-1s relative to EBV-PBLs. These results suggest that weak allogenicity of cardiac myocytes may be governed by their limited expression of MHC genes and gene products critical for antigen processing and presentation.