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Tristan Bourcier, Magda De Saint-Jean, Françoise Brignole, Alain Goguel, Christophe Baudouin; Expression of CD40 and CD40 Ligand in the Human Conjunctival Epithelium. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2000;41(1):120-126.
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purpose. CD40 antigen is a membrane receptor that plays a role in the regulation
of immune reactions. The expressions of CD40 and CD40 ligand (CD40L)
were investigated ex vivo and in vitro in conjunctival epithelial
cells, in correlation with HLA DR class II antigen, previously shown to
be upregulated in conjunctival inflammatory conditions.
methods. Impression cytology specimens were collected in 186 patients: 52 normal
ones, 65 with keratoconjunctivitis sicca, and 69 with chronic
conjunctivitis. Cells were processed for flow cytometry, by using
monoclonal antibodies to CD40, CD40L, and HLA DR antigens. Chang
conjunctival cells were also used and treated with human recombinant
interferon (IFN)-γ or tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. CD40, CD40L,
and HLA DR expressions were studied by flow cytometry after 24 and 48
hours of treatment.
results. CD40 was found in both normal and pathologic eyes. Quantitation of
levels of fluorescence showed a significantly higher expression in
pathologic eyes than in normal ones (P < 0.0001).
CD40L was variably and inconstantly expressed by conjunctival cells. A
strong expression of HLA DR was observed in pathologic eyes, whereas
normal eyes showed very low levels (P < 0.0001).
Significantly positive correlations were found among CD40, CD40L, and
HLA DR levels. Chang conjunctival cells expressed CD40 in basal
conditions, whereas CD40L and HLA DR were negative. CD40 expression
significantly increased after 24 hours of IFNγ treatment and after 48
hours’ exposure to TNFα. These cytokines had no effect on CD40L
expression. HLA DR was upregulated after 24 hours of treatment with
IFNγ but remained negative after exposure to TNFα.
conclusions. Human conjunctival epithelial cells normally express CD40 antigen, and,
more inconsistently, CD40L. Flow cytometry showed higher expression of
these molecules in inflammatory eyes than in normal ones in correlation
with class II antigen expression, as well as CD40 and HLA DR
upregulation after treatment with proinflammatory cytokines in
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