June 2023
Volume 64, Issue 8
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2023
Immunoregulation in Avascular Regions of the Eye: A Role for the Lens
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • A Sue Menko
    Pathology and Genomic Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   A Sue Menko None
  • Footnotes
    Support  NIH Grant EY021784
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2023, Vol.64, 1289. doi:
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      A Sue Menko; Immunoregulation in Avascular Regions of the Eye: A Role for the Lens. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2023;64(8):1289.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Presentation Description : While the eye is considered an immune privileged site, immune cells are required to maintain tissue homeostasis and mediate the reparative responses to injury and pathogenic insults. Our recent discoveries have revealed that the lens, an avascular tissue of the anterior segment, plays a role in activating, recruiting and regulating immune responses in the absence of an embedded vasculature. The ciliary zonules, which link the lens to the vasculature-rich ciliary body, provide a path by which immune cells can populate the surface of the lens. We will show that immune cells are recruited specifically to the anterior, cornea-facing lens capsule surface in response to corneal wounding. These lens-capsule associated immune cells include macrophages and GR-1+ immune cells that could function as immunoregulators to maintain homeostasis in the injured eye. The lens was discovered to harbor a population of tissue resident immune cells, an immune cell type considered to be the earliest responders to tissue injury. The activation of these lens resident immune cells could provide the mechanism for recruitment of immune cells to the lens surface in response to cornea wounding. Related studies show that immune cells, including T-cells, macrophages, and myeloid cells with immunoregulatory properties, are recruited to the surface of the lens in the induced autoimmune disease model Experimental Autoimmune Uveitis (EAU). Many of these lens capsule associated immune cells remain linked to the lens capsule matrix during and after resolution of EAU inflammation. These studies show that the lens, located in the center of the eye and interfacing with the anterior, equatorial and posterior compartments of the eye, is a previously unappreciated regulator of inflammation in the immune privileged eye is key to maintaining its homeostasis.

This abstract was presented at the 2023 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in New Orleans, LA, April 23-27, 2023.

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