December 1991

Astrocyte Expression of Major Histocompatibility Complex Gene Products in Multiple Sclerosis Brain Tissue Obtained by Stereotactic Biopsy

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Molecular Biology and Neurology and the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research (Dr Ransohoff) and the Departments of Pathology and Neurology (Dr Estes), The Research Institute, Cleveland, Ohio.

Arch Neurol. 1991;48(12):1244-1246. doi:10.1001/archneur.1991.00530240048017

• Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and class II antigens were characterized by immunocytochemistry in two chronic-active multiple sclerosis lesions in tissue obtained from two patients by stereotactic biopsy. We examined in particular astrocytic MHC-positive cells in relation to lesion architecture. The MHC class I (HLA-A,B,C)—positive astrocytic cells were widely dispersed, being present at the lesion edge, in the gliotic lesion center, and in normal-appearing white matter as well. Morphologically astrocytic MHC class II (HLA-DR)—positive cells were confined exclusively to the lesion edge. By staining serial sections with antisera to glialfibrillary acidic protein and HLA-DR, we confirmed the lineage of several MHC class II—positive astrocytes. The demonstration of MHC antigen—positive astrocytes in multiple sclerosis tissue obtained by stereotactic biopsy is novel; the differential distribution of MHC class I—and class II—positive astrocytes in the multiple sclerosis lesion may provide suggestive clues about the regulation of MHC expression on these cells in vivo.