Immunoregulatory mechanisms of the eye.
Immune-privileged sites, such as the the internal compartments of the eye, and perhaps the brain, are physiological adaptations that act to modify systemic immune responses such that effector mechanisms that invoke locally destructive inflammation are suppressed. In the case of the eye, the parenchymal cells of the iris and ciliary body create an intraocular microenvironment that alters both the induction and expression of immunity to antigens placed within the eye. The immunosuppressive properties of the intraocular microenvironment are mediated by cytokines, especially transforming growth factor-beta (TGF beta). This cytokine has been demonstrated to endow intraocular antigen-presenting cells with the capacity to induce an atypical or deviant form of immunity to intraocular antigens which is selectively deficient in T cells that mediate delayed hypersensitivity. Moreover, TGF beta, along with other intraocular factors, can impair the intraocular expression of pre-existing cell-mediated immunity by inhibiting antigen-driven activation of primed T cells. The strategies employed by the eye to engender specialized immune responses appropriate to its physiological functions are discussed in terms of other privileged sites such as the brain.
Streilein, JW; Wilbanks, GA; Cousins, SW
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