A human thymoma is a neoplasm derived from the thymic epithelial cell, and is well known for its association with autoimmune diseases, especially myasthenia gravis. The neoplastic epithelial cells of thymoma clearly retain thymic epithelial functions, but the development of T cells in thymoma is somewhat impaired. In this study, we quantified by flow cytometry the in vitro expression of MHC molecules on neoplastic epithelial cells precultured with IFN-γ. While MHC class I expression was comparable with that on normal thymic epithelial cells, the level of MHC class II molecules on neoplastic epithelial cells was lower than in controls, and also varied greatly from case to case. Additionally, there was a significant positive correlation between the expression level of MHC class 11 and the proportion of mature CD3+ cells in the CD4+CD8- subset. Thus, accumulation of CD3-CD4+CD8- cells in thymoma may result from impaired expression of the MHC class II molecules, suggesting that the function of the neoplastic epithelial cells might determine the maturation and the positively selected repertoire of T cells in thymomas.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Clinical and Experimental Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 1 1999|
- T cell differentiation
- Thymic epithelial cell
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy