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Analysis of major histocompatibility antigens and the mononuclear cell infiltrate in halo nevi.

A series of monoclonal antibodies was used to characterize the nevomelanocytes and the inflammatory infiltrate of 11 halo nevi in different stages of resolution, employing an immunoperoxidase technique. Three of the 11 halo nevi histologically showed signs of mild or moderate nevomelanocytic atypia. It was found that the vast majority of the nevomelanocytes in halo nevi with a dense inflammatory infiltrate markedly expressed HLA-A,B,C antigens, while expression was not demonstrable in nevocellular nests not adjacent to the mononuclear infiltrate. No difference in expression of HLA-A,B,C antigens was found between the 3 cases with mild or moderate nevomelanocytic atypia and the other cases lacking atypia. Expression of HLA-DR (Ia-like) antigens was found on few nevomelanocytes in only 2 of 11 lesions. The cellular composition of the mononuclear inflammatory infiltrate showed a predominance of T cells (80% or more) with a relatively high proportion of cytotoxic/suppressor T cells. Most of the T cells showed signs of activation as judged by staining for HLA-DR antigens. These results demonstrate that the expression of HLA-A,B,C antigens on the nevomelanocytes and the cellular composition of the mononuclear inflammatory infiltrate in halo nevi are very similar to that in malignant melanomas and dysplastic neiv. These findings also indicate the expression of HLA-A,B,C antigens on nevomelanocytes is primarily dependent on the presence of T-cell immune response and not necessarily related to the presence of nevomelanocytic atypia.

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