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Charlot Philips, Lisanne Terrie, Ewout Muylle, Rita Van Ginderdeuren, Evie Vereecke, Ilse Mombaerts, Lieven Thorrez; The Immunoarchitecture of Human Extraocular Muscles. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2023;64(14):23. https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.64.14.23.
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The purpose of this study was to describe the immunoarchitecture of normal extraocular muscles (EOMs) in terms of presence, distribution, and organization of various immune cells.
We performed unilateral orbital exenterations in six fresh human cadavers from elderly patients, followed by dissection of the medial, lateral, superior and inferior rectus, superior and inferior oblique, and superior palpebral levator muscle in their entirety. We further cross sectioned each EOM in an anterior, central, and posterior third. After immunohistochemical staining for CD3, CD8, CD20, CD138, CD68, and podoplanin, quantitative analysis was performed.
We found all EOMs (rectus, oblique, and levator muscles) to harbor both T- and B-lymphocytes, with a B-lymphocyte dominance and an absence of plasma cells. The highest prevalence of immune cells was seen in the muscle bellies, with, on average, 488 ± 63 CD3+ T-lymphocytes and 44 ± 110 CD20+ B-lymphocytes per mm2, and significant differences from the anterior (T-lymphocytes) and posterior (T- and B-lymphocytes) thirds. T- and B-lymphocytes were primarily organized in hotspots in the vicinity of blood vessels. In addition, a small resident population of macrophages scattered throughout the specimens was detected. No lymphatic vessels were found in any of the EOMs.
These findings can serve as a reference dataset in the assessment of EOM biopsies in the diagnostic process of inflammatory orbital and systemic disorders. Moreover, from a regenerative perspective, our results highlight the importance of taking into account the presence of a resident immune cell population when studying the host immune response on transplanted tissues or engineered constructs.
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