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Endocrine epithelial cells do not normally express human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II molecules, but do so in a variety of autoimmune diseases. This finding suggests the hypothesis that such inappropriate class II-positive expression may enable these cells to present autoantigens and thus contribute to autoimmune pathogenesis. Indeed, class II-positive thyrocytes can present both exogenous antigenic peptides and intrinsic autoantigens to the appropriate T cells. Class II expression by thyrocytes can be induced by interferon-gamma, and is positively and negatively regulated by thyroid-stimulating hormone and epidermal growth factor, respectively. Furthermore, heterogeneity of thyrocyte class II subregion expression appears to be related to the nature of the inducing stimulus. The complexity of regulatory signals is underlined by findings in type I diabetes: islet beta cells aberrantly express class II in this disease, but class II cannot be induced in normal beta cells by interferon-gamma.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Horm Res

Publication Date

1987

Volume

26

Pages

118 - 124

Keywords

Antigen-Presenting Cells, Autoantibodies, Autoimmune Diseases, Epithelium, HLA-DR Antigens, Humans, Thyroid Gland, Thyrotropin