Lymphocytes enter lymph nodes by first adhering to high endothelial venules, an adhesive event mediated by a lectinlike lymphocyte receptor (L-selectin). Previously, it was shown with an in vitro assay that lymphocytes preferentially adhere to myelin-rich regions in brain sections. Here, using a recombinant form of L-selectin as an immunohistochemical reagent, we demonstrate potential ligands for L-selectin in myelinated regions of the central but not the peripheral nervous system. Using several antibodies and phorbol ester downmodulation of the receptor, we establish that L-selectin on human lymphocytes has a primary involvement in lymphocyte adherence to the myelinated regions. On mouse lymphocytes, the contribution of L-selectin appears to be partial. These findings raise the possibility that leukocyte targeting to myelin-rich regions, via a L-selectin dependent mechanism, may be a factor in the pathogenesis of certain central nervous system demyelinating diseases.
K Huang, J S Geoffroy, M S Singer, S D Rosen