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Rebecca L. O'Brien, Molly A. Taylor, Jacqueline Hartley, Tanja Nuhsbaum, Steve Dugan, Kevin Lahmers, M. Kemal Aydintug, J. M. Wands, Christina L. Roark, Willi K. Born; Protective Role of γδ T Cells in Spontaneous Ocular Inflammation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(7):3266-3274. doi: 10.1167/iovs.08-2982.
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purpose. A role for γδ T cells in immunoregulation has been shown in a number of studies, but in the absence of infection or induced disease, mice lacking γδ T cells generally appear to be healthy. That certain mice lacking γδ T cells often spontaneously develop keratitis, characterized by a progressive and destructive inflammation of the cornea is reported here.
methods. The keratitis developing in these mice was characterized in terms of prevalence in males versus females, age of onset, and histologic features. Attempts were made to understand the underlying causes of the disease by removing αβ T cells, altering sex hormones, and reconstituting γδ T cells.
results. The development of keratitis in these mice depended on the C57BL/10 genetic background, and was much more common among females than males. The incidence of the disease increased with age, exceeding 80% in females greater than 18 weeks old. Evidence that the keratitis in these mice is at least partly autoimmune in nature, and that despite its prevalence in females, male hormones do not protect against the disease is presented.
conclusions. These findings indicate an important role for γδ T cells in maintaining immune balance in the eye. The mice described in this study represent a potential new small animal model of keratitis.
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