Liver sinusoidal endothelial cells tolerize T cells across MHC barriers in mice

J Immunol. 2005 Jul 1;175(1):139-46. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.175.1.139.


Although livers transplanted across MHC barriers in mice are normally accepted without recipient immune suppression, the underlying mechanisms remain to be clarified. To identify the cell type that contributes to induction of such a tolerance state, we established a mixed hepatic constituent cell-lymphocyte reaction (MHLR) assay. Irradiated C57BL/6 (B6) or BALB/c mouse hepatic constituent cells (HCs) and CFSE-labeled B6 splenocytes were cocultured. In allogeneic MHLR, whole HCs did not promote T cell proliferation. When liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) were depleted from HC stimulators, allogeneic MHLR resulted in marked proliferation of reactive CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells. To test the tolerizing capacity of the LSECs toward alloreactive T cells, B6 splenocytes that had transmigrated through monolayers of B6, BALB/c, or SJL/j LSECs were restimulated with irradiated BALB/c splenocytes. Nonresponsiveness of T cells that had transmigrated through allogeneic BALB/c LSECs and marked proliferation of T cells transmigrated through syngeneic B6 or third-party SJL/j LSECs were observed after the restimulation. Transmigration across the Fas ligand-deficient BALB/c LSECs failed to render CD4(+) T cells tolerant. Thus, we demonstrate that Fas ligand expressed on naive LSECs can impart tolerogenic potential upon alloantigen recognition via the direct pathway. This presents a novel relevant mechanism of liver allograft tolerance. In conclusion, LSECs are capable of regulating a polyclonal population of T cells with direct allospecificity, and the Fas/Fas ligand pathway is involved in such LSEC-mediated T cell regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Fas Ligand Protein
  • Female
  • Hepatocytes / immunology*
  • Immune Tolerance
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Isoantigens
  • Liver Transplantation / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocyte Culture Test, Mixed
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • fas Receptor / metabolism


  • Fas Ligand Protein
  • Fasl protein, mouse
  • Isoantigens
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • fas Receptor