Differential MHC class II expression on human peripheral blood monocytes and dendritic cells.Immunology. 1988 Feb; 63(2):303-11.I
Both monocytes (MO) and dendritic cells (DC) in human peripheral blood are of a plastic-adherent nature. The expression of the MHC class II sublocus products HLA-DP, -DQ and -DR on human peripheral blood transiently adherent cells (TA) was examined by an immunocytochemical staining technique. While most TA showed strong expression of molecules of the HLA-DR subtype, only a small proportion of cells (2-6%) showed strong HLA-DP or -DQ positivity. This strong expression of the HLA-DP and HLA-DQ sublocus products by a subset of TA was seen only after short-term culture; freshly isolated cells expressed comparatively low levels of these molecules. Enrichment for Fc receptor-negative or low-density cells from TA produced populations with strong HLA-DQ and -DP expression. Such co-enrichment of the strongly HLA-DQ+ and strongly HLA-DP+ cells suggests that the same cells express high levels of both types of MHC class II molecule. Immunocytochemical analysis of TA indicated that the strongly HLA-DQ+ cells, at least, were only weakly or non-reactive with the MO-specific monoclonal antibodies OKM1, UCHM1, MO2 and EB11. In addition, strongly HLA-DQ- or -DP-positive cells were poorly phagocytic in comparison with the majority of adherent cells. The apparent FcR-negative, low-density and weakly phagocytic nature of the strongly HLA-DQ/DP+ cells, combined with their lack of reactivity with several MO-specific antibodies, suggests that they may represent the DC component of TA. Such strong HLA-DQ/DP expression by DC may aid their positive identification in human peripheral blood and may be of relevance to DC function in antigen presentation.