International Journal of Medical Sciences

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17 November 2018

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Int J Med Sci 2004; 1(3):126-136. doi:10.7150/ijms.1.126

Research paper

HLA-DR regulation and the influence of GM-CSF on transcription, surface expression and shedding

Sara E Perry1, Sobhy M Mostafa2, Richard Wenstone2, Alan Shenkin3, Paul J McLaughlin1

1. Department of Immunology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.
2. Intensive Care Unit, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool, UK.
3. Department of Clinical Chemistry, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.


Low surface HLA-DR expression is a feature in sepsis. However, the mechanisms that regulate HLA-DR expression have not been elucidated. The current study investigates regulation of HLA-DR gene transcription, post transcriptional events and shedding of surface HLA-DR, as well as the regulation of HLA-DR by GM-CSF and an immunomodulatory cytokine. Plasma and PBMC were collected from septic patients and healthy volunteers. An ELISA was developed to measure soluble HLA. PCR techniques were used to determine HLA-DR mRNA levels, and flow cytometry and fluorescent microscopy were used for measurement of surface expressed and intracellular HLA-DR. Septic patients fulfilling the criteria of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) for sepsis were recruited for the study (n=70). HLA-DR was measured on three consecutive days, days seven and fourteen. Patients were excluded from the study if on immunosuppressive therapy. Results: Higher levels of shed HLA-DR were found in the plasma of septic patients compared to healthy controls. The level of HLA-DR mRNA was significantly lower in septic patients compared to healthy controls, however an increased intracellular HLA-DR expression was observed. When HL-60 cells were treated with GM-CSF, gene transcription, surface expression and shedding of HLA-DR were all up-regulated. These results indicate that the mechanisms involved in the regulation of HLA-DR in sepsis include shedding of HLA-DR from the cell surface and regulation of HLA-DR gene transcription. Post-translational processing of HLA-DR was also seen to be compromised. GM-CSF was shown to regulate HLA-DR at all these levels.

Keywords: Sepsis, HLA-DR, monocyte, GM-CSF, post translational

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How to cite this article:
Perry SE, Mostafa SM, Wenstone R, Shenkin A, McLaughlin PJ. HLA-DR regulation and the influence of GM-CSF on transcription, surface expression and shedding. Int J Med Sci 2004; 1(3):126-136. doi:10.7150/ijms.1.126. Available from