Human retinal pigment epithelial cells differentially express MHC class II (HLA, DP, DR and DQ) antigens in response to in vitro stimulation with lymphokine or purified IFN-gamma.Clin Exp Immunol. 1988 Sep; 73(3):489-94.CE
A possible role for retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE) as local antigen presenting cells in immune inflammatory eye disease was investigated by studying the in vitro response of human RPE cells to stimulation with purified IFN-gamma or Con A induced lymphokine. RPE cells cultured with a single dose of 50-1000 u/ml IFN-gamma for up to 8 days to allow maximal Class II gene transcription, expressed HLA DP, DR and DQ antigens in a dose-dependent manner with 80% or more of cells positive for each antigen at the higher concentration. After removal of a suboptimal IFN-gamma stimulus, HLA-DR antigen expression persisted for at least 15 days. HLA-DP and DQ antigens persisted only after maximal IFN-gamma stimulation. Lymphokine from Con A stimulated lymphocytes induced higher levels of DR and DQ expression (80%) over DP (15%) implying complex interactions with other mediators present in the lymphocyte culture supernatant. Since RPE cells phagocytose and recycle autoantigen-rich retinal rod outer segments and co-express HLA DR and DQ Class II antigens in response to IFN-gamma stimulation, an immunoregulatory role in conditions in which retinal autoimmunity is implicated, such as chronic idiopathic posterior uveitis and retinal vasculitis is postulated for these cells.