Human Amnion Epithelial Cells Impair T Cell Proliferation: The Role of HLA-G and HLA-E Molecules

Fabio Morandi, Danilo Marimpietri, Andre Görgens, Alessia Gallo, Raghuraman Chittor Srinivasan, Samir El-Andaloussi, Roberto Gramignoli

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The immunoprivilege status characteristic of human amnion epithelial cells (hAECs) has been recently highlighted in the context of xenogenic transplantation. However, the mechanism(s) involved in such regulatory functions have been so far only partially been clarified. Here, we have analyzed the expression of HLA-Ib molecules in isolated hAEC obtained from full term placentae. Moreover, we asked whether these molecules are involved in the immunoregulatory functions of hAEC. Human amnion-derived cells expressed surface HLA-G and HLA-F at high levels, whereas the commonly expressed HLA-E molecule has been measured at a very low level or null on freshly isolated cells. HLA-Ib molecules can be expressed as membrane-bound and soluble forms, and in all hAEC batches analyzed we measured high levels of sHLA-G and sHLA-E when hAEC were maintained in culture, and such a release was time-dependent. Moreover, HLA-G was present in extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by hAEC. hAEC suppressed T cell proliferation in vitro at different hAEC:T cell ratios, as previously reported. Moreover, inhibition of T cell proliferation was partially reverted by pretreating hAEC with anti-HLA-G, anti-HLA-E and anti-β2 microglobulin, thus suggesting that HLA-G and -E molecules are involved in hAEC-mediated suppression of T cell proliferation. Finally, either large-size EV (lsEV) or small-size EV (ssEV) derived from hAEC significantly modulated T-cell proliferation. In conclusion, we have here characterized one of the mechanism(s) underlying immunomodulatory functions of hAEC, related to the expression and release of HLA-Ib molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 19 2020


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