HLA class II induction in human islet cells by interferon-gamma plus tumour necrosis factor or lymphotoxin.
Pujol-Borrell R., Todd I., Doshi M., Bottazzo GF., Sutton R., Gray D., Adolf GR., Feldmann M.
HLA class II molecules are surface glycoproteins which are essential in the initiation of immune responses. It has been postulated that induction of class II in epithelial cells such as endocrine cells, which are normally class II negative, may result in autoimmunity. In type I diabetes, islet beta cells, the target of the autoimmune process, selectively express class II antigens. But in contrast to most other cell types, islet beta cells are not stimulated to express class II by interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and thus the conditions under which this induction occurs have been particularly elusive. The cytotoxins tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and lymphotoxin (LT) synergize with IFN-gamma in a number of activities. We report here that IFN-gamma in combination with either TNF or LT induces islet cell class II expression. This finding has important implications for the pathogenesis of type I diabetes and the understanding of the differential control of class II expression.