Injection of mercuric chloride into Brown Norway (BN) rats induces a T lymphocyte-dependent autoimmune syndrome. In order to investigate whether modification of adhesion and costimulatory molecules on T lymphocytes may be involved in early T lymphocyte activation by HgCl2, the authors analysed expression of these molecules in peripheral lymph node cells from BN rats at day 4 after injection of HgCl2. Tri-colour flow cytometry was performed for expression analysis within CD45RC-defined subsets of CD4+ and CD8+ cells. Compared to control rats, HgCl2-exposed rats showed increased numbers of lymphocytes, especially of T lymphocyte blast cells. The levels of LFA-1 expression as well as the fractions of ICAM-1 + cells were significantly increased in all CD45RC-defined subsets of CD4+ and CD8+ cells. Within the CD4 + CD45RC10 T lymphocyte population, HgCl2-injected rats showed a highly significant increase in the number of cells expressing OX40, which is a member of the TNF receptor family. Moreover, only CD4 + CD45RC10 blast cells of HgCl2-exposed rats showed decreased expression of CD43, increased expression of CD49d and decreased numbers of CD26 + cells. The results indicate that induction of autoimmunity by HgCl2 in BN rats is associated with altered expression of T lymphocyte costimulatory molecules, predominantly on CD4+ CD45RC10 cells, which may be caused by a direct effect of HgCl2 on these cells, and may precipitate further activation of T and B lymphocytes by HgCl
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.