Background & aims: A Th1 clone, II-6, established from an autoimmune gastritis BALB/c mouse that underwent thymectomy 3 days after birth, recognized a 15 mer peptide constructing the alpha subunit of H+, K(+)-adenosine triphosphatase as antigen and induced gastritis in nu/nu mice by adoptive transfer. The aim of this study was to examine the molecular mechanism of target (parietal cells) destruction in either thymectomized or II-6 cell-transferred nu/nu mice.
Methods: Expression of Fas, major histocompatibility complex class II, and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 molecules on the gastric mucosa of these mice were immunohistochemically examined. In situ DNA fragmentation in these thymectomized or nu/nu mice was tested by the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated digoxigenin-deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end label (TUNEL) method. Moreover, activity of II-6 cells to induce apoptosis was tested by using the 15 mer peptide-pulsed B lymphoma cells, A20.2J, as the target.
Results: A portion of parietal cells in gastritis-bearing thymectomized or nu/nu mice at an early stage expressed Fas, major histocompatibility complex class II, and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 molecules and was TUNEL positive. Fas-ligand message was induced on activated II-6 cells and caused DNA fragmentation of the antigen-pulsed A20.2J cells.
Conclusions: Cognate interaction between Fas antigen on the target and Fas ligand on the effector seems to be one possible mechanism for the target cell destruction in organ-specific autoimmune gastritis.