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Nicol M. McKechnie, Werner Gürr, Hanano Yamada, David Copland, Gabriele Braun; Antigenic Mimicry: Onchocerca volvulus Antigen-Specific T Cells and Ocular Inflammation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(2):411-418.
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purpose. Molecular mimicry has been suggested to play a role in the development
of ocular onchocerciasis. The Onchocerca volvulus antigen Ov39 is cross-reactive with the retinal antigen hr44 and
induces ocular inflammation in rats after immunization. This study was
undertaken to determine whether Ov39-derived T-cell lines, which
proliferate in response to stimulation with hr44, can transfer disease
to naive Lewis rats.
methods. Two separately derived IL-2–dependent CD4+ T-cell lines,
LKOV39 1.8 and LKOV39 4.5, specific to Ov39 were transferred to
naïve Lewis rats. A T-cell line specific to the peripheral
nerve protein P2 served as a positive control for transfer of disease.
Ocular tissues were analyzed by immunohistology, and sera were tested
for the presence of antibodies to hr44.
results. Transfer of both T-cell lines caused inflammation of the limbus, iris,
and choroid. In addition, LKOV39 1.8, which produced slightly more
inflammation, induced activation of retinal microglia. LKOV39 4.5
induced a dose-dependent influx of CD8+ cells into the
limbus and the uvea. Sera from rats that received the T-cell lines had
no significant antibody responses to hr44.
conclusions. These findings indicate that CD4+ cell lines specific to
the antigen Ov39 can induce ocular inflammation in naïve rats
and suggest that recruitment of CD8+ T cells may play a
regulatory role. The inflammation is milder than that produced by
immunization. The absence of antibody responses to hr44 in the animals
receiving the T-cell lines may indicate a role for antibody in the
development of ocular onchocerciases.
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