Human endothelial cells have been shown to be capable of causing direct allostimulation of T cells. However, the majority of immunological studies of human endothelial cells have been performed on cells of fetal origin. Here we use endothelial cells isolated from the adult human heart, both large vessel (coronary artery, pulmonary artery and aorta) and also microvascular. We have examined the ability of all these endothelial cells to cause direct allostimulation of T cells, and show that purified CD4+ T cells can proliferate in response to adult human heart endothelial cells, the response being dependent on pretreatment of the endothelial cells with interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and inhibited by anti-HLA-DR monoclonal antibody. The proliferative responses of CD8+ T cells to adult but not fetal endothelial cells was inconsistent and weak. Proliferative responses were not blocked by CTLA4-Ig, which inhibits T-cell responses to 'classical' antigen-presenting cells (APC), but > 50% inhibition was achieved with monoclonal antibody to lymphocyte function-associated antigen-3 (LFA-3). These results show that adult human cardiovascular endothelial cells are capable of causing allostimulation of resting CD4+ T cells, using a different second signal to classical APC. In view of these findings endothelial cells should be considered as APC following solid organ transplantation.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 1996|