Differential major histocompatibility complex class II locus expression on human laryngeal epithelium

L. E. Rees, O. Ayoub, K. Haverson, M. A. Birchall, M. Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The survival of a laryngeal allograft will be dependent on the immunological composition of the donor larynx and, in particular, on the expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II antigens on professional and non-professional antigen-presenting cells. Laryngeal and tonsillar biopsies from normal individuals aged 18-78 years were processed and prepared for quantitative, multiple-colour immunofluorescence using mouse antihuman monoclonal antibodies to human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-DR, HLA-DQ and CD45. The laryngeal epithelium expressed HLA-DR locus products at variable levels, but expression of HLA-DQ was virtually absent. Tonsillar epithelial cells expressed HLA-DR at the basal layer only, while HLA-DQ was similarly not expressed. In contrast, both HLA-DR and -DQ locus products were present on lamina propria and intraepithelial leucocytes in both laryngeal and tonsillar mucosae, although at varying levels. The finding that laryngeal epithelial cells express MHC class II antigens has implications for the survival of laryngeal allografts and suggests that they may require significant immunomodulation. In addition, antigen presentation by epithelial cells has been hypothesized to contribute to the immunoregulatory function of mucosal tissues, and the finding that HLA-DQ locus products are only expressed at low levels by laryngeal epithelium raises questions about the repertoire of peptides to which the mucosal immune system can respond.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-502
Number of pages6
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Epithelium
  • Intraepithelial leucocytes
  • Lamina propria
  • MHC class II
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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