Linking immune responses with fibrosis in allergic eye disease.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Here, we explore an emerging theme in the literature, which is the role of dendritic cells in the causation of fibrosis. To fully appreciate this pathway to disease, we also review the most recent literature regarding dendritic cell biology as it pertains to ocular surface tissues. On the basis of this information, we propose a unifying hypothesis for how dendritic cells may cause conjunctival fibrosis in the allergy setting. RECENT FINDINGS: Work in models of airway remodeling and liver fibrosis has pointed to a potentially central role for dendritic cells in the pathobiology of fibrosis. Indeed, these cells are recognized as the most potent antigen-presenting cells, and as such activate T lymphocytes that are profibrotic under certain conditions. However, recent findings suggest a more direct role for dendritic cells, which opens up the possibility that a similar pathway may be relevant in the causation of conjunctival fibrosis, particularly in allergic eye disease. SUMMARY: Conjunctival fibrosis is a serious clinical concern and is associated with chronic inflammation of the ocular surface tissue, such as in allergic eye disease. Dendritic cells are required in mediating allergic disease by activating pathologic T lymphocytes. Recent findings pointing to a central role for dendritic cell in fibrosis may, however, mean that these cells could also be contributing directly to conjunctival fibrosis. If so, furthering our understanding of dendritic cells could lead to the identification of novel and more effective therapeutic strategies to treat this disease.
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