Studies of antigen presenting cells in the anterior segment of the eye and their role in immune-mediated ocular disease [ 2001 - 2003 ]

Also known as: The role of immune cells in ocular disease

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Paul Mcmenamin (Principal investigator)

Brief description Dendritic cells (DC) are considered the 'sentinels' of the immune system because they are capable of trapping antigenic material derived from invading organisms such as bacteria and viruses in peripheral tissues-organs (skin, gut, respiratory tract etc) and then transporting these antigens to the lymphoid organs where they 'alert' the immune system to potential 'dangers' and elicit appropriate T cell responses. If the antigens are novel this mechanism forms the basis of primary cell-mediated immune responses. Previously 'educated' T cells may upon contact with antigens in the periphery (when presented by other antigen presenting cells [APCs], such as macrophages) become activated. This forms the basis for secondary immune responses. Immune and inflammatory responses in the eye are held in check to avoid permanent damage to the delicate tissues and maintain visual function. The mechanisms which regulate immunological responses in the eye are only now becoming clear. Studies in the Chief Investigators laboratory over the last 7 years have been aimed at unravelling the life cycle and function of APCs in the eye. The present study has three specific aims: 1) Determining whether DC in the eye once they have taken up antigens migrate to the spleen or local lymph nodes? 2) The second aim of this project is to use an animal model of uveitis and transfer fluorescent labelled donor T cells to study the events in the living eye which lead to autoimmune uveoretinitis. In particular we wish to identify the cells that present antigen to infiltrating lymphocytes. 3) Patients often develop posterior uveitis (an autoimmune condition) after a cold or bacterial infection. We aim to mimic conditions of acute inflammation in the eye to see whether this may secondarily predispose the eye to attack by autoreactive lymphocytes.

Funding Amount $AUD 241,018.36

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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