MHC-class-II are expressed in a subpopulation of human neural stem cells in vitro in an IFNγ-independent fashion and during development

B Vagaska, S E P New, C Alvarez-Gonzalez, F D'Acquisto, Sergio Gomez-Alonso, N W Bulstrode, A Madrigal, P Ferretti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Downloads (Pure)


Expression of major histocompatibility antigens class-2 (MHC-II) under non-inflammatory conditions is not usually associated with the nervous system. Comparative analysis of immunogenicity of human embryonic/fetal brain-derived neural stem cells (hNSCs) and human mesenchymal stem cells with neurogenic potential from umbilical cord (UC-MSCs) and paediatric adipose tissue (ADSCs), while highlighting differences in their immunogenicity, led us to discover subsets of neural cells co-expressing the neural marker SOX2 and MHC-II antigen in vivo during human CNS development. MHC-II proteins in hNSCs are functional, and differently regulated upon differentiation along different lineages. Mimicking an inflammatory response using the inflammatory cytokine IFNγ induced MHC-II up-regulation in both astrocytes and hNSCs, but not in UC-MSCs and ADSCs, either undifferentiated or differentiated, though IFNγ receptor expression was comparable. Together, hypoimmunogenicity of both UC-MSCs and ADSCs supports their suitability for allogeneic therapy, while significant immunogenicity of hNSCs and their progeny may at least in part underlie negative effects reported in some patients following embryonic neural cell grafts. Crucially, we show for the first time that MHC-II expression in developing human brains is not restricted to microglia as previously suggested, but is present in discrete subsets of neural progenitors and appears to be regulated independently of inflammatory stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24251
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2016


  • Adipose Tissue
  • Astrocytes
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Fetal Blood
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Neural Stem Cells
  • Neurons
  • Receptors, Interferon
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Cite this