Airway epithelial cell damage mediated by antigen-specific T cells: Implications in lung allograft rejection

Craig R. Smith, Andrés Jaramillo, Brian F. Duffy, T. Mohanakumar

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28 Scopus citations


The aim of this study is to assess the mechanisms associated with airway epithelial cell (AEC) injury, which may have implications in lung allograft rejection. Three AEC lines, KDI-650, Beas-2B and A549 were analyzed. Effect of cytokines on the expression of Fas, HLA class I, and HLA class II were assessed by flow cytometry. AEC-specific T cells were generated in vitro and assessed for lysis by 51Cr release assay. HLA class I and Fas were expressed on all AEC lines. Beas-2B and A549 expressed low levels of class II compared with KDI-650, which lack this expression. Expression of HLA class II was augmented on KDI-650 and Beas-2B by IFN-γ treatment. AEC-specific T cells generated in vitro were predominantly CD8+ and lysed relevant AEC targets. Anti-HLA class I monoclonal antibodies inhibited the lysis of AEC by specific T cells while anti-Fa and anti-HLA class II monoclonal antibodies did not have any effect on the T cell induced lysis of AECs. AECs cultured with supernatant derived from T-cell cultures induced the expression of Fas, HLA class I, as well as HLA class II. These results suggest AEC damage is mediated by AEC-specific T cells primarily by the conventional HLA class I/peptide complex and TCR interaction. Further, the factors released by these T cells also induce the expression of Fas, as well as HLA class I and class II, which may have implications on the outcome of the immune response against AECs. (C) American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics, 2000.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-992
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2000


  • Airway epithelial cells
  • Cytokines
  • Lung allograft
  • T cells


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