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Human Peritoneal Mesothelial Cells Display Phagocytic and Antigen-Presenting Functions to Contribute to Intraperitoneal Immunity
  1. Tanya J. Shaw, PhD,
  2. Xiang Y. Zhang, MD,
  3. Zhiming Huo, MD,
  4. David Robertson,
  5. Patricia A. Lovell,
  6. Angus G. Dalgleish, MD and
  7. Desmond P.J. Barton, MD
  1. * Division of Biomedical Sciences, St. George’s, University of London;
  2. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St. George’s Healthcare NHS Trust;
  3. Division of Infection and Immunity, St. George’s, University of London;
  4. § Department of Pathology, Breakthrough Breast Cancer Centre, Institute of Cancer Research; and
  5. Royal Marsden Hospital, London, United Kingdom.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Desmond P. J. Barton, MD, Division of Gynaecological Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St. George’s Hospital, Blackshaw Rd, London SW17 0QT. E-mail: dbarton{at}


Abstract Mesothelial cells lining the peritoneal cavity are strategically positioned to respond to and counter intraperitoneal infections, cancer cells, and other challenges. We have investigated human peritoneal mesothelial cells (HPMCs) for phagocytic activity, expression of surface Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) class II and accessory molecules involved in antigen presentation, and the ability to present recall antigens to T cells. Phagocytosis of dextran, latex beads, and Escherichia coli was observed by flow cytometry, and internalization was visualized using confocal and electron microscopy. Flow cytometry and/or cellular enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay showed constitutive expression of ICAM-1, LFA-3, and B7-1, but not B7-2 or MHC class II. Interferon-gamma induced MHC II and ICAM-1 expression in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Importantly, HPMCs induced autologous CD3+ T-lymphocyte proliferation (3H incorporation) after pulse with recall antigen. Human peritoneal mesothelial cells equipped with phagocytic and antigen-presenting machinery are anticipated to have an integral role in intraperitoneal immune surveillance.

  • Mesothelium
  • MHC
  • Peritoneum
  • T cell
  • Engulf
  • Inflammation

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  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.