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Modulation of ABH histo-blood group antigen expression in normal and myasthenic human thymus

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Sarafian VS, Marinova TT. Modulation of ABH histo-blood group antigen expression in normal and myasthenic human thymus. APMIS 2006;114:669–74.

The role of ABH histo-blood group antigens (HBGA) in intercellular communication during normal and pathological processes is still uncertain. The present work investigates the expression of ABH HBGA in epithelial cells and lymphocytes in normal thymus, and characterizes the modulation of their immunoreactivity during myasthenic transformation. Immunohistochemistry and immunoelectron microscopy were applied on normal young thymus and on myasthenia gravis-associated thymomas and thymic hyperplasias. The Hassall's corpuscules in the thymus of young individuals were homogeneously stained for HBGA, while in hyperplastic glands only their central part was positive. Stromal epithelial cells permanently expressed HBGA in all tissue samples. In thymomas, mainly the lymphocytes in close proximity to antigen expressing epithelial cells were positive, while in the hyperplastic gland the most intensely stained lymphocytes were those within Hassall's corpuscules. Novel evidence for modulation of ABH antigen reactivity in normal and myasthenic human thymus is presented. It suggests that HBGA might participate in the regulation of the cross-talk in the thymocyte microenvironment throughout the ontogeny, as well as during the myasthenic transformation.
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Keywords: Histo-blood group antigens; human thymus; myasthenia gravis; thymic hyperplasia; thymoma

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Medical Biology, Medical University, Sofia, Bulgaria

Publication date: 2006-10-01

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