Antigen presentation by a continuous human microvascular endothelial cell line, HMEC-1, to human T cells

Pathobiology. 1993;61(3-4):236-8. doi: 10.1159/000163800.


Endothelial cells line the vessels and lymphatics of the body, acting as a barrier between the blood and extravascular tissue. These cells are, therefore, in a prime position to play a role in lymphocyte activation. Indeed, it has been shown that primary endothelial cells in culture are capable of presenting particulate and soluble antigens to T cells and that this response is not dependent on macrophages. Recently, we developed an immortalized line of human microvascular endothelial cells, CDC/EU.HMEC-1 (HMEC-1). This endothelial line has the advantage not only of being devoid of contaminating cells but also of being a continuous cell line and therefore not subject to a restricted number of useful passages. The focus of this study was to determine whether HMEC-1 cells (like primary endothelial cells) could present antigen to T cells in the absence of macrophages. We demonstrate that a cloned and purified endothelial cell line can independently provide all the necessary signals for antigen-specific T-cell activation.

MeSH terms

  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology*
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Cell Line
  • Diphtheria Toxin / immunology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / immunology*
  • Enterotoxins / immunology
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Tetanus Toxin / immunology


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Diphtheria Toxin
  • Enterotoxins
  • Tetanus Toxin
  • enterotoxin B, staphylococcal