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Expression Of The Co-Stimulatory Molecule BB-1, The Ligands CTLA-4 and CD28 and Their Mrnas In Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy

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To examine whether the Schwann cells in patients with autoimmune neuropathies have the potential to behave as professional antigen-presenting cells, we investigated the expression of the co-stimulatory molecules BB-1, B7-1 (CD80), B7-2 (CD86) and their counter-receptors CD28 or CTLA-4 (CD152) at the protein and mRNA levels in sural nerve biopsies of patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), CIDP associated with human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV-CIDP), IgM paraproteinaemic neuropathy and normal or non-immune axonal neuropathy. In single-and double-labelling experiments, we used the S-100 antigen as a pan-Schwann cell marker, myelin-associated glycoprotein as a marker for myelinating Schwann cells and the fibrillary acidic protein as a marker for unmyelinating Schwann cells. The expression of the B7 family of molecules was limited to BB-1 and was observed only on the Schwann cells. There was constitutive expression of BB-1 on unmyelinating Schwann cells in all nerves studied. However, in CIDP and HIV-CIDP, but not the other diseases, there was prominent upregulation of BB-1 on the myelinating Schwann cells. The endoneurial T cells in the proximity of BB-1-positive Schwann cells expressed the CD28 or CTLA-4 counterreceptors. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction confirmed that these ligands were upregulated only in CIDP. Because the myelinating BB-1-positive Schwann cells expressed HLA-DR antigen, the findings indicate that, in CIDP, Schwann cells possess the necessary markers to function as antigen-presenting cells.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Brain 123: 1660–1666, 2000. Reprinted with permission from Oxford University Press.

Publication date: March 1, 2001

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