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F. Mantelli, A. Lambiase, A. Micera, C. Moretti, A. Di Zazzo, E. Perrella, S. Bonini; Involvement of T-Helper17 LymphocytesiIn Ocular Cicatricial Pemphigoid. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):5523.
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In this study we evaluated the presence of T-helper17 lymphocytes (Th17) in the healthy ocular surface and in patients with ocular cicatricial pemphigoid (OCP).
Conjunctival biopsies and blood samples were obtained from 9 patients with OCP (4 males, 5 females; 53-91 years of age) and 5 age/sex matched-healthy subjects. Conjunctival samples were immunostained with anti-human IL17 antibodies (Immunodiagnostick AG) and IL17+ cells were counted by confocal microscopy in three 60x field images per each sample. Mononuclear cells were isolated from both OCP and healthy blood samples and evaluated for foxp3-FITC, IL17-Cy3, or CD4-Cy5 (eBioscience) by FACS. IL17, TGF-β, IL4 and IFN-γ (eBioscience) levels were investigated in plasma of OCP and healthy patients by ELISA.
Presence of Th17 lymphocytes in conjunctival biopsies was significantly (p<0.01) increased in patient with OCP (15±13cellsxfield) as compared to healthy subjects (0.5±1.5cellsxfield). No significant difference was observed for IL17 between the OCP and healthy subjects in peripheral blood.
In this study we report an increased recruitment of Th17 lymphocytes in OCP conjunctiva, not accompanied by similar peripheral findings. This data suggests that Th17 lymphocytes are responsible of a dysregulation in the local immune response of OCP conjunctiva. Our findings are in line with previous evidence showing that Th17 cells play a critical pathogenic role in autoimmunity, promoting organ-specific damage in several diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
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