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Cornelia A. Deeg, Bernd Kaspers, Hartmut Gerhards, Stephan R. Thurau, Bettina Wollanke, Gerhild Wildner; Immune Responses to Retinal Autoantigens and Peptides in Equine Recurrent Uveitis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2001;42(2):393-398.
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purpose. To test the hypothesis that autoimmune mechanisms are involved in horses
in which equine recurrent uveitis (ERU) develops spontaneously.
methods. Material obtained from horses treated for spontaneous disease by
therapeutic routine vitrectomy was analyzed for total IgG content and
IgG specific for S-Antigen (S-Ag) and interphotoreceptor
retinoid-binding protein (IRBP). The cellular infiltrate of the
vitreous was analyzed by differential counts of cytospin preparations
and flow cytometry using equine lymphocyte-specific antibodies.
Antigen-specific proliferation assays were performed comparing
peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) with vitreal lymphocytes by
stimulation with S-Ag and several S-Ag– and IRBP-derived peptides.
results. The total IgG content of specimens from horses with ERU was very high
with great variability among the investigated samples (11.5 ± 8.0
mg). Autoantibodies to S-Ag or IRBP or both were found in 72% of
vitreous specimens from horses with uveitis. The leukocyte infiltrates
(up to 2 × 108 cells per sample) were dominated by
lymphocytes (>90%) in most cases (22/32). Flow cytometry showed that
more than 50% of these cells were CD4+ T cells. In vitro
stimulation of vitreal lymphocytes, but not of PBL, showed a strong
proliferative response to peptides derived from S-Ag or IRBP in 9 of 12
conclusions. In the eyes of horses with ERU, IgG antibodies and autoreactive T cells
specific for retinal antigens were detected. These results strongly
support the hypothesis that ERU is an autoimmune-mediated disease and
is highly similar to recurrent uveitis in humans in both clinical and
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