Expression of MHC class II molecules contributes to lipopolysaccharide responsiveness

Eur J Immunol. 2000 Nov;30(11):3140-6. doi: 10.1002/1521-4141(200011)30:11<3140::AID-IMMU3140>3.0.CO;2-O.


Activation of phagocytes by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) causes synthesis and secretion of various mediators of inflammation. CD14, a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored monocytic antigen serving as receptor for LPS, and members of the family of Toll-like receptors mediate cellular activation in response to LPS. Here we investigated whether expression of MHC class II molecules modified the response to LPS. Comparing LPS responsiveness of human and murine cells differing for expression of MHC class II molecules, we found that lack or a low level of expression of MHC class II molecules resulted in diminished secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines following stimulation with LPS. Thus, expression of MHC class II molecules modifies LPS responsiveness, a finding suggesting that these molecules contribute to the pathogenesis not only of exotoxin-triggered toxic shock but also of endotoxin-triggered septic shock. Additionally to their role in antigen-specific immunity MHC class II molecules may influence the inflammatory response triggered by microbial constituents.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Lipopolysaccharides