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Junko Hori, J. Wayne Streilein; Role of Recipient Epithelium in Promoting Survival of Orthotopic Corneal Allografts in Mice. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2001;42(3):720-726. doi: https://doi.org/.
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purpose. To determine whether epithelium-deprived corneal allografts covered with
syngeneic epithelium display immune privilege in orthotopic
transplantation and whether syngeneic epithelium containing
antigen-presenting cells nullifies this effect.
methods. Epithelium-deprived allogeneic corneas (C57BL/6) and
epithelium-deprived allogeneic corneas reconstituted with syngeneic
(BALB/c) epithelium (containing or deprived of Langerhans’ cells) were
transplanted orthotopically into normal eyes of BALB/c mice. Graft
survival was assessed clinically and evaluated histologically.
results. Epithelium-deprived corneal grafts survived in syngeneic recipients but
were swiftly rejected in allogeneic recipients. These allografts
incited intense stromal inflammation and neovascularization.
Epithelium-deprived allografts that were resurfaced in vivo by
syngeneic epithelium derived from immune-incompetent SCID mice also
underwent intense acute rejection when placed in normal eyes of BALB/c
mice. The epithelium of in vivo resurfaced grafts was replete with
Langerhans’ cells. By contrast, most of the epithelium-deprived
allografts reconstituted in vitro with fresh, normal BALB/c corneal
epithelium survived indefinitely when placed in eyes of BALB/c mice.
Similar grafts reconstituted with BALB/c epithelium containing
Langerhans’ cells were swiftly rejected.
conclusions. Replacement of donor epithelium with Langerhans’ cell-deficient
syngeneic epithelium protects orthotopic allogeneic cornea grafts
(stroma plus endothelium) from immune-mediated rejection. The presence
of an intact, histocompatible layer of corneal epithelium has two
important effects on orthotopic corneal allografts: It suppresses
nonspecific inflammation and neovascularization within the graft, and
it blunts the alloimmunogenicity of the histoincompatible stroma and
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