Human fetal neural precursor cells can up-regulate MHC class I and class IIexpression and elicit CD4 and CD8 T cell proliferation

Document Type

Journal Article


Elsevier Inc


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science




Goya, R., Busch, R., Mathur, R., Coles, A., & Barker, R. (2010). Human fetal neural precursor cells can up-regulate MHC class I and class II expression and elicit CD4 and CD8 T cell proliferation. Neurobiology of Disease, 41(2), 407-414. Available here


The use of allogeneic fetal neural precursor cells (NPCs) as a cell replacement therapy in neurodegenerative disorders holds great promise. However, previous studies concerning the possibility of alloimmune rejection of the transplanted cells have been inconclusive. Here, we used flow cytometry to quantify the expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules by human NPCs, obtained from the cortex or ventral mesencephalon of fetuses with gestational ages between 7 and 11 weeks. MHC class I was undetectable on the surface of freshly isolated primary fetal tissue from either location, but increased over time in proliferating NPC cultures; after 7 days in vitro, MHC class I was detectable on most cells. Following differentiation, MHC class I expression persisted on non-neuronal cells. MHC class II levels remained low at all time points but were inducible by pro-inflammatory cytokines, whereas the co-stimulatory molecules, CD80 and CD86, remained undetectable. Nonetheless, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells proliferated when peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were cultured with allogeneic NPCs. Weaker responses were obtained when NPCs were co-cultured with purified allogeneic responder T cells, suggesting that indirect allorecognition contributed significantly to PBMC responses. In conclusion, differentiating human NPCs are immunogenic in vitro, suggesting that they may trigger immune rejection unless transplant recipients are immunosuppressed.





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