Antigen-presenting function and B7 expression of murine sinusoidal endothelial cells and Kupffer cells

Gastroenterology. 1996 Apr;110(4):1175-81. doi: 10.1053/gast.1996.v110.pm8613007.


Background & aims: Inflammatory liver disease as well as rejection of liver allografts are thought to be mediated by resident antigen-presenting cells in the liver. At the same time, in vivo antigen presentation in the liver appears to be a more tolerogenic than systemic antigen challenge. The aim of this study was to show and characterize the antigen-presenting capability of sinusoidal endothelial cells and Kupffer cells.

Methods: Purified murine sinusoidal endothelial cells and Kupffer cells were studied for their ability to serve as accessory cells and antigen-presenting cells by proliferation assays. They were also studied for their expression of interleukin 1 and the B7 costimulatory molecules by Northern blotting, polymerase chain reaction, and flow cytometry.

Results: Both cell types expressed interleukin 1 messenger RNA and could serve equally well as accessory and antigen-presenting cells. B7-2 messenger RNA and surface expression on sinusoidal endothelial cells and on Kupffer cells was shown. Antibodies to the B7 molecules inhibited antigen presentation. Addition of interleukin 10 as a regulatory cytokine secreted by Kupffer cells was suppressive.

Conclusions: Sinusoidal endothelial cells carry functional B7-2 molecules and can serve as effective antigen-presenting cells. However, antigen presentation by sinusoidal endothelial cells may be locally down-regulated by interleukin 10.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology*
  • B7-1 Antigen / genetics
  • B7-1 Antigen / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / immunology*
  • Interleukin-1 / genetics
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-10 / pharmacology
  • Kupffer Cells / immunology*
  • Liver / blood supply*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats


  • B7-1 Antigen
  • Interleukin-1
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Interleukin-10