The CD1d molecule has been implicated to play a role in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), possibly through its presentation of an intestinal antigen trigger. To understand the role of the CD1d class I-like protein in IBD, we investigated the molecule's expression in diseased intestinal tissue and determined its potential to undergo specific recognition by intraepithelial and peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) derived from IBD patients. We have observed an increase in precipitable CD1d in inflamed tissues, which suggests CD1d up-regulation in IBD; this was not accompanied by the occurrence of CD1d-specific cytotoxicity by lymphocytes isolated from the same tissue sites. In contrast, we have observed CD1d-specific cytotoxicity by PBLs from both patients and normal controls mediated by a possibly unique type of lymphocytic cell. These observations support a model in which intestinal inflammation may be initiated by circulating PBLs following the tissue-specific upregulation of CD1d. These activated PBLs may then be the source of the extraintestinal manifestations observed with IBD. We therefore propose that the cells responsible for this activity may play a role in regulating immune responses through the specific recognition of CD1d- specific antigen(s). (C) 2000 Academic Press.
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