The MHC class I related Fc receptor, FcRn, is expressed in the epithelial cells of the human mammary gland

Hum Immunol. 2003 Dec;64(12):1152-9. doi: 10.1016/j.humimm.2003.08.025.


The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I related neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) plays multiple roles, being involved in transporting immunoglobulin G (IgG) and protecting this antibody class from catabolism. The presence of this receptor was previously demonstrated in the lactating murine mammary gland. In the current study we have investigated FcRn expression in various histologic types of human breast carcinoma and lymph node metastases. We used immunohistochemical methods to demonstrate the presence of FcRn in epithelial cells, whereas this Fc receptor could not be detected in mammary gland endothelial cells. The presence of the receptor was also found in the metastasizing epithelial cells within the lymph nodes, and this provides a useful marker for their identification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology*
  • Endothelial Cells / immunology
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / immunology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Genes, MHC Class I / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / biosynthesis
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Mammary Glands, Human / immunology
  • Mammary Glands, Human / metabolism
  • Mammary Glands, Human / pathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Receptors, Fc / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Fc / immunology


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Receptors, Fc
  • Fc receptor, neonatal