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The Major Histocompatibility Complex Class II-CD4 Immunologic Synapse in Alcoholic Hepatitis and Autoimmune Liver Pathology: the Role of Aberrant Major Histocompatibility Complex Class Ii in Hepatocytes


The Major Histocompatibility Complex Class II-CD4 Immunologic Synapse in Alcoholic Hepatitis and Autoimmune Liver Pathology: the Role of Aberrant Major Histocompatibility Complex Class Ii in Hepatocytes



American Journal of Pathology 190(1): 25-32



ISSN/ISBN: 0002-9440

PMID: 31669415

DOI: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2019.09.019

The major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II)-CD4 immunologic synapse is classically described between the T-cell receptor of CD4-positive lymphocytes and MHC II on antigen-presenting cells. This interaction and others between surrounding costimulatory and checkpoint molecules promote differentiation of naïve CD4 T lymphocytes into helper T cells subtypes, including types 1, 2, and 17 helper T cells, that have more tailored immunologic responses. Although MHC II is mainly produced by professional antigen-presenting cells, it can be aberrantly produced by other cell types, including hepatocytes in various liver pathologies, such as autoimmune hepatitis and alcoholic hepatitis. This can lead to direct targeting of hepatocytes by CD4-positive lymphocytes, which form an immunologic synapse with the hepatocyte. The lymphocytes internalize the MHC II-CD4 complexes in a phagocytosis-like mechanism and in the process eat the hepatocyte piece by piece. We review the evidence for this mechanism and the role of these autoimmune responses in various liver diseases, including alcoholic hepatitis, autoimmune hepatitis, and primary biliary cirrhosis. The role of aberrant MHC II in malignancy, including hepatocellular carcinoma, is also reviewed. Further understanding of this mechanism can lead to better understanding of the immune mechanisms involved in these liver pathologies, with potential diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

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Accession: 069467232

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