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Astrocyte Expression of Major Histocompatibility Complex Gene Products in Multiple Sclerosis Brain Tissue Obtained by Stereotactic Biopsy

Richard M. Ransohoff, MD; Melinda L. Estes, MD
Arch Neurol. 1991;48(12):1244-1246. doi:10.1001/archneur.1991.00530240048017.
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• Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and class II antigens were characterized by immunocytochemistry in two chronic-active multiple sclerosis lesions in tissue obtained from two patients by stereotactic biopsy. We examined in particular astrocytic MHC-positive cells in relation to lesion architecture. The MHC class I (HLA-A,B,C)—positive astrocytic cells were widely dispersed, being present at the lesion edge, in the gliotic lesion center, and in normal-appearing white matter as well. Morphologically astrocytic MHC class II (HLA-DR)—positive cells were confined exclusively to the lesion edge. By staining serial sections with antisera to glialfibrillary acidic protein and HLA-DR, we confirmed the lineage of several MHC class II—positive astrocytes. The demonstration of MHC antigen—positive astrocytes in multiple sclerosis tissue obtained by stereotactic biopsy is novel; the differential distribution of MHC class I—and class II—positive astrocytes in the multiple sclerosis lesion may provide suggestive clues about the regulation of MHC expression on these cells in vivo.


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