MHC class I expression on dendritic cells is sufficient to sensitize for transplantation immunity

Petra Lenz, Adelheid Elbe, Georg Stingl, Paul R. Bergstresser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The immunogenicity of an allograft correlates with the number of MHC class II+ antigen-presenting cells (dendritic cells) that it contains. To determine whether these antigen-presenting cells induce not only MHC class II-mediated immune responses, but also physiologically relevant levels of MHC class I immunity, we took advantage of a unique MHC class I+/class II-/CD80+ dendritic cell line (80/1 DC) derived from murine (C3H, H-2(k)) fetal skin. The 80/1 DC sensitized H-2-disparate recipients for specific transplantation immunity, as evidenced by significantly accelerated rejection (second set) of skin allografts from C3H mice, but not of third-party allografts. As few as 102 80/1 DC, administered by the subcutaneous route, were effective, indicating their high potency as stimulator cells. Several lines of evidence support the hypothesis that the immunization observed was mediated primarily by direct presentation of allo-class I: (i) Blockage of the co-stimulatory molecule CD80 on 80/1 DC abrogated their sensitizing capacity; (ii) equal numbers of a nonprofessional antigen-presenting cell line (L929, C3H origin) as well as dead 80/1 DC failed to accelerate graft rejection; and (iii) injection of syngeneic (BALB/c) Langerhans cells pulsed with 80/1 DC fragments induced a delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction to these fragments but failed to accelerate rejection of C3H skin grafts. We conclude that direct allo-class I immunity can occur in the absence of class II expression when induced by a professional antigen-presenting cell and that this mechanism has biologic relevance in transplantation immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)844-848
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996


  • Alloimmunity
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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