Expression of MHC Class I Genes in Mouse Hepatitis Virus (MHV-A59) Infection and in Multiple Sclerosis
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The alteration in expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I genes on neural cells in association with central nervous system (CNS) demyelination was studied. Infection of mice or glial cell cultures with a neurotropic demyelinating coronavirus, mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) strain A59, was used as a model system. While uninfected neural cells do not express detectable amounts of MHC class I surface antigens, after infection with MHV-A59 in vitro or in vivo, these antigens can be detected by reaction with a monoclonal antibody against H-2D and H-2K. Induction of MHC class I antigens by MHV-A59 infection in mice was associated with increased levels of H-2 mRNA. Upregulation of MHC class I antigens involved the production of soluble factor/s produced by infected astrocytes. The identity of the factor, which is not interferon, is at present unknown. Brain specimens from autopsies of patients with multiple sclerosis, a human inflammatory demyelinating diseases, were also examined for alteration of MHC antigens. Both class I and class II surface antigens were found in active plaques but not in chronic plaques or in normal brain. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that MHC class I antigen induction may play a role in inflammatory CNS demyelination in both experimental animals and in humans.
KeywordsMultiple Sclerosis Major Histocompatibility Complex Major Histocompatibility Complex Class Mouse Hepatitis Virus Major Histocompatibility Complex Antigen
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