Aberrant expression on biliary epithelial cells of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens in association with adhesion molecule intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) may be crucial to the immunopathogenesis of biliary atresia. The patterns of MHC class I and II expression in relation to ICAM-1 expression as well as the associated lymphocyte subpopulations were studied in frozen section liver biopsies from six infants with biliary atresia. Intense ICAM-1 expression was found on all ductal epithelial cells in association with MHC I. No ductal epithelial cells demonstrated MHC II expression. Lymphocyte populations within the portal tracts all expressed LFA-1 and were predominantly CD4 positive (>70%). CD8 positive cells accounted for less than 30%. The expression of ICAM-1 appears to be important in the pathogenesis of biliary atresia but is not linked to the expression of MHC II determinants. This result suggests that different regulatory mechanisms govern the expression of these important immunological receptors on biliary epithelial cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)