Aqueous humor factors and their effect on the immune response in the anterior chamber.
The immune response to antigens within the anterior chamber is deviant (anterior chamber associated immune deviation - ACAID) in that delayed hypersensitivity is deficient, whereas other immune effector modalities are intact. Experimental evidence indicates that the eye itself is critical to the induction of ACAID. We have examined the antigen processing and presenting potential of cells within the anterior segment of the eye, and have analyzed the potential immunoregulatory properties of these cells, their secretory products, and the aqueous humor itself. Evidence indicates that bone marrow-derived cells within the stroma of the iris and ciliary body inhibit antigen-driven T lymphocyte activation, although they themselves lack the capacity to present antigens to T lymphocytes. The mechanism is in part through secretion of immunosuppressive cytokines. Since aqueous humor contains similar cytokines, it is inferred that these molecules are constitutively secreted. We have determined that a major inhibitory molecule within normal aqueous humor is transforming growth factor-beta (TGFB), which inhibits antigen processing and presentation, and suppresses both T lymphocyte activation and certain aspects of non-specific inflammation. These effects also turn out to be properties of normal aqueous humor. These findings support the hypothesis that local features of the eye modify intraocular antigens such that an ACAID-inducing signal is produced. Experimental evidence suggests that these same properties may play a major role in suppressing efferent immune responses in the eye.
Streilein, JW; Cousins, SW
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