As opposed to normal human skin where HLA-DR expression is restricted to the Langerhans cell (LC) population, HLA-DR, but not HLA-DS antigens can be readily detected on keratinocytes (KC) in certain disease states, i.e., cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL), graft-vs-host disease (GVHD), and lichen planus (LP). To clarify the cellular origin of KC-bound HLA-DR antigens, we used a monoclonal antibody directed against determinants solely expressed on the cytoplasmic HLA-DR gamma chain (VIC-Y1) and observed that, by immunofluorescence, KC displaying HLA-DR alpha/beta complexes on their surface uniformly displayed cytoplasmic VIC-Y1 reactivity. In view of the crucial role of the gamma chain for HLA-DR biosynthesis, we conclude that HLA-DR antigens on KC are actively synthesized by these cells.

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