Expression of different immunological markers by cultured human melanocytes

N. Smit, I. Le Poole, R. van den Wijngaard, A. Tigges, W. Westerhof, P. Das*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The expression of different immunological markers by cultured human melanocytes (MC) in relation to immune phenomena, were investigated on ten different MC cell lines from early (1st) to late (22nd) passage. Four melanocyte lines (MC-a) which had undergone changes in growth behaviour during prolonged culture were included in the study, together with two melanoma lines. Cytospin preparations of the cells were stained for the presence of a set of different immunological markers and a melanoma-associated antigen (MAA). All MC lines, including the MC-a and the melanoma lines, showed expression of MHC class I, IL-1, IL-2, ICAM-1 and the MAA, NKI-Beteb, during all passages tested. Interestingly, four of the MC lines showed staining for the Fc receptor. A tendency towards a stronger expression of ICAM-1 on a higher percentage of cells was observed on MC with increasing passage number, the MC-a and the melanoma lines. Expression of the MAA was strongly reduced for the MC-a lines in comparison with the MC and the M14 melanoma lines. Positive staining for the HLA class II molecules was obtained on MC of intermediate and late passages, and on the MC-a and the melanoma lines in the decreasing order HLA-DR, DP and DQ. Additionally, we carried out a preliminary study showing that cultured MC also produce IL-1 and IL-6. However, we were not able to show the production of biologically active IL-2 testing several cultured MC lines. Nevertheless, the overall results taken together suggest that MC are immunologically important cells that are susceptible to changes during long-term culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-365
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Dermatological Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1993


  • Immunological markers
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Melanocyte cultures
  • Phenotypic changes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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