The effect of staphylococcal enterotoxin B on thyrocyte HLA molecule expression

A. Fierabracci, L. Hammond, M. Lowdell, L. Chiovato, A. W. Goode, G. F. Bottazzo, R. Mirakian

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Microbial superantigens have been implicated in the pathogenesis of human autoimmune diseases. In autoimmune glands, thyrocytes inappropriately express HLA-DR molecules and these cells may function as antigen presenting cells (APC) We studied the effect in vitro of staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) on HLA molecule expression on thyrocytes obtained from autoimmune and non-autoimmune glands by immunofluorescence. HLA class I and class II upregulation could be detected by FACS analysis on thyrocytes. Anti-IFN-γ neutralizing antibodies markedly affect both class I and class II upregulation on thyrocytes. FRTL5 cells were not responsive to SEB. Similarly, a human thyroid cell strain maintained in culture in a conditioned medium was not induced to express HLA products by SEB stimulation. The addition of autologous intrathyroidal lymphocytes caused reestablishment of the SEB effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-314
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Autoimmunity
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Autoimmunity
  • HLA molecules
  • SEB
  • Superantigens
  • Thyroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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