Retinoblastoma (Rb) is the most common intraocular tumor of childhood. In this study we examined primary Rb specimens and Rb cell lines for the expression of immunoglobulin superfamily (IgSF) antigens: MHC class I and II (MHC-I and MHC-II), neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), and Thy-1, which play an important role in immune system and tumor cell interactions. MHC-I and -II, ICAM-1 (CD54), NCAM (CD56), and Thy-1 (CDw90) immunoreactivity was studied in eight primary Rb biopsy specimens using immunohistochemistry, three using immunoelectron microscopy, and six Rb cell lines using flow cytometry (FCM). Parenchymal and vascular-associated cells, phenotypically similar to retinal microglia, strongly expressed MHC-II immunoreactivity and were distributed throughout primary Rb specimens. However, MHC-II expression on Rb cell lines was similar to nonspecific control levels. Tumor cells in primary Rb specimens displayed high NCAM, moderate Thy-1, and low MHC-I and ICAM-1 immunolabeling. Tumor vasculature expressed low to moderate MHC-I and ICAM-1 immunoreactivity and moderate Thy-1 immunoreactivity. NCAM was not detected on the vasculature of primary Rb specimens. Rb cell lines displayed variable expression of Thy-1, ICAM-1, and MHC-I. NCAM was highly expressed on five of six Rb cell lines. The high levels of constitutive NCAM immunoreactivity on Rb tumor cells confirm the neuroectodermal origins of this tumor. Additionally, the variable expression of Thy-1 may suggest separate neural lineages or differences in the maturational status of some Rb tumors. The presence of a population of infiltrating MHC-II-positive cells in primary Rb tumors has implications for immunomodulation of Rb growth.
*Save Sight Institute, Department of Clinical Ophthalmology, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia 2:
†Department of Pathology, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Publication date: January 1, 2002
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