Cell Immunol 2002 Nov;218(1-2):13-25
Walker MR, Mannie MD.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, East Carolina University School of Medicine, 27858-4354, Greenville, NC, USA
This study provides evidence that both rat and mouse thymic and splenic T cells express significant levels of MHC class II glycoproteins (MHCII) in vivo.
Derivation of rat and mouse chimeras revealed that a major source of MHCII on thymic T cells was acquired from radioresistant host APC.
Expression of MHC on thymic T cells appeared physiologically relevant because presentation of rat myelin basic protein (RMBP) by nonadherent, radiosensitive thymic T cells was associated with the adoptive transfer of tolerance.
Mature MBP-specific effector T cells isolated from the CNS in both rat and mouse models of EAE also expressed significant levels of MHCII.
Adoptive transfer of activated B10.PL MBP/I-A(u)-restricted TCR transgenic T cells into F1(C57BL/6xB10.PL) mice revealed acquisition of allogeneic I-A(b) on encephalitogenic CNS-derived T cells.
Overall, this study indicates that immature and mature T cells in rats and mice acquire functional MHCII in vivo during thymic development and pathogenic inflammation.