The identification of HL-A antigens on fresh and cultured human endothelial cells
Human endothelial cells were obtained from the umbilical cord veins of 16 newborns by methods previously described and tested for HL-A antigens by a microcytotoxicity method. HL-A antigens were present on all endothelial cell lines tested. When the HL-A phenotypes of fresh endothelial cells and autologous fetal lymphocytes were compared, a concordance of 70% was observed. When the HL-A phenotypes of maternal lymphocytes and fresh endothelial cells were compared, a maternal contribution to the endothelial cell phenotype was evident in 72% of the possible commmon antigens. Some HL-A antigens were deleted from 11 of 16 endothelial cell lines that were re-typed after 2 weeks in tissue culture. The majority (90%) of deleted antigens were from the second HL-A locus. When three lines of endothelials cells were again re-typed after 6 weeks in culture, no further changes in antigenicity were noted. These findings: a) demonstrate that HL-A antigens are present on human endothelium and suggest that endothelial cells are actively involved in establishing the immunogenicity of a graft, and b) demonstrate that the HL-A antigens on human endothelial cells may be modulated by in vitro culture.