Vascular Endothelium: The Interface Between the Site of Antigen and Cellular Immunity
Endothelial cells line the vessels and lymphatics, forming a barrier between circulating T cells and the extravascular tissue site of antigen. We have suggested that circulating T cells recognize antigen on the surface of endothelial cells, resulting in the activation of the endothelium such that the endothelial cells then release the key mediators of a cell-mediated immune response. To test this hypothesis we have evaluated the extent to which endothelial cells can signal antigen-specific T cell activation. We have shown that cultured endothelial cells are as effective as macrophages in lymphocyte activation and that this activation is HLA-DR restricted. In additional experiments, we have established that endothelial cells synthesize both Ia and IL-1 early in the signaling process. To eliminate any possible contribution of other cell types participating in the T cell-endothelial cell interaction, we have shown that cloned endothelial cells present antigen to cloned T cells. These experiments document that endothelial cells are independently competent antigen-presenting cells.
KeywordsEndothelial Cell Cell Clone Imperial Cancer Research Fund Tuberculin Response Compatible Endothelial Cell
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