Essential fatty acid deficiency (EFAD) is a useful model for studying the role of (n-6) fatty acid metabolism in normal physiology. Because cutaneous manifestations are among the earliest signs of EFAD and because abnormalities in the distribution and function of tissue macrophages have been documented in EFAD rodents, we studied the distribution and function of Class II MHC (Ia) antigen-bearing cells in EFAD C57B1/6 mouse epidermis. Immunofluorescence studies revealed 1.9-9.6 (mean ± SEM = 5.2±2.6) times more class II MHC (Ia) antigen-bearing epidermal cells in suspensions prepared from EFAD as compared to normal skin. Analysis of epidermal sheets demonstrated similar numbers of dendritic Ia+ and NLDC145+ cells in EFAD and normal epidermis, however. This discrepancy occurred because some keratinocytes in EFAD epidermal sheets expressed class II MHC (Ia) antigens, whereas keratinocytes in normal mouse epidermis did not. Two-color flow cytometry confirmed that all Ia+ cells in normal epidermis are Langerhans (Ia+ NLDC145+) cells, whereas Ia+ cells in EFAD epidermis are comprised of Langerhans cells and a subpopulation of keratinocytes (Ia+ NLDC145-). Similar levels of Ia antigens were expressed on EFAD and normal Langerhans cells. EFAD and normal epidermal cells were also compared in several in vitro assays of accessory cell function. Epidermal cells prepared from EFAD C57B1/6 mice present the protein antigen DNP-Ova to primed helper T cells more effectively than epidermal cells prepared from normal animals. EFAD epidermal cells are also more potent stimulators of T cells in primary and secondary allogeneic mixed lymphocyte-epidermal cell reactions than normal epidermal cells. The functional differences between EFAD and normal epidermal cells do not appear to result from increased cytokine release or decreased prostaglandin production by EFAD epidermal cells. In view of these findings and the observation that the antigen-presenting cell activity of EFAD epidermal cells correlates with the number of Ia+ keratinocytes in epidermal cell preparations, Ia+ keratinocytes (in the presence of Langerhans cells) may potentiate cutaneous immune responses in vitro and perhaps in vivo as well. These results also suggest that (n-6) fatty acids or metabolites of (n-6) fatty acids are involved in regulating the expression of class II MHC (Ia) antigens by keratinocytes in vivo.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Investigative Dermatology|
|State||Published - Jun 1990|