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Francisco C. Figueiredo, Susan M. Nicholls, David L. Easty; Corneal Epithelial Rejection in the Rat. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(3):729-736.
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purpose. To investigate clinical and histologic changes in the epithelium during
corneal graft rejection in the rat.
methods. LEW (RT1l) or PVG (RT1c) strain
corneas were transplanted to PVG strain recipients and examined by slit
lamp for clinical signs of rejection. Recipients were killed, and
corneal epithelial sheets were removed and examined by adenosine
diphosphatase (ADPase) staining for Langerhans cells (LC) and by
immunohistology for leukocytes and adhesion molecules (T cells,
macrophages, granulocytes, major histocompatibility complex [MHC]
class II, CD2 and CD54 intercellular adhesion molecule [ICAM]-1) at a
range of time points before, during, and after rejection, depending on
the cell type sought. Normal and contralateral eyes were examined for
ADPase+ and MHC class II+ cells.
results. Clinical rejection, as defined by stromal opacity, occurred between
days 10 and 15 after transplantation. In 94% of allografts, a curved
clinical epithelial rejection line was observed in which
ADPase+/MHC class II+, CD4+, or
CD8+ T cells were identified. There were significantly more
infiltrating cells of all types in epithelia of allografts than in
those of isografts. The most numerous cells were CD4+ and
CD8+ T cells, suggesting preferential migration of these
cells into the epithelium from underlying layers. Expression of MHC
class II and ICAM-1 was induced on epithelial cells.
conclusions. Epithelial rejection in rats is clinically similar to that in humans
and occurs simultaneously with stromal infiltration. It may be mediated
by T cells rather than macrophages. In isolation, its recognition in
humans may be a useful indication that the patient is at high risk of
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