A major histocompatibility complex class I-related Fc receptor for IgG on rat hepatocytes

R. S. Blumberg, T. Koss, C. M. Story, D. Barisani, J. Polischuk, A. Lipin, L. Pablo, R. Green, N. E. Simister

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117 Scopus citations


Intestinal epithelial cells of the neonatal rat and mouse have been shown to express a major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-like Fc receptor, or FcRn, which transports IgG in an apical to basolateral direction. Previous studies have suggested the possible expression of this receptor beyond the neonatal period within the liver. Since bile contains high levels of IgG, we sought to determine whether the FcRn was functionally expressed by adult rat hepatocytes. Using primers specific for FcRn, which did not cross hybridize with MHC class I transcripts, FcRn DNA was amplified by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction from RNA of adult rat hepatocytes. This RNA contained functional FcRn transcripts as it encoded a β2-microglobulin- associated cell surface protein as determined by immunoprecipitalion of biotinylated cell surface proteins with a polyclonal anti-FcRn specific antiserum. Western blotting of hepatocyte canalicular (apical) and sinusoidal (basolateral) plasma membranes with an FcRn-specific monoclonal antibody further confirmed the protein expression and suggested that FcRn was enriched on the canalicular surface membranes. FcRn, on the surface of hepatocytes, was biologically functional as it bound Fc fragments of IgG at pH 6.0 but not 8.0, which is the same pH dependence observed for FcRn in rat neonatal enterocytes. Thus, FcRn is functionally expressed outside of the neonatal period on the canalicular cell surface of adult hepatocytes. This suggests that hepatocyte FcRn may bind luminal IgG, providing a potential functional communication between parenchymal immune cells and bile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2397-2402
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1995


  • Fc receptor
  • Kupffer cells
  • bile
  • immunosurveillance
  • liver
  • lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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