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Kleinwort, Kristina J. H.; Amann, Barbara; Hauck, Stefanie M.; Feederle, Regina; Sekundo, Walter and Deeg, Cornelia A. (2016): Immunological Characterization of Intraocular Lymphoid Follicles in a Spontaneous Recurrent Uveitis Model. In: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, Vol. 57, No. 10: pp. 4504-4511

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PURPOSE. Recently, formation of tertiary lymphoid structures was demonstrated and further characterized in the R161H mouse model of spontaneous autoimmune uveitis. In the horse model of spontaneous recurrent uveitis, intraocular lymphoid follicle formation is highly characteristic, and found in all stages and scores of disease, but in depth analyses of immunologic features of these structures are lacking to date. METHODS. Paraffin-embedded eye sections of cases with equine spontaneous recurrent uveitis (ERU) were characterized with immunohistochemistry to gain insight into the distribution, localization, and signaling of immune cells in intraocular tertiary lymphoid tissues. RESULTS. Ectopic lymphoid tissues were located preferentially in the iris, ciliary body, and retina at the ora serrata of horses with naturally-occurring ERU. The majority of cells in the tertiary lymphoid follicles were T cells with a scattered distribution of B cells and PNA(+) cells interspersed. A fraction of T cells was additionally positive for memory cell marker CD45RO. Almost all cells coexpressed CD166, a molecule associated with activation and transmigration of T cells into inflamed tissues. Several transcription factors that govern immune cell responses were detectable in the tertiary lymphoid follicles, among them Zap70, TFIIB, GATA3, and IRF4. A high expression of the phosphorylated signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) proteins 1 and 5 were found at the margin of the structures. CONCLUSIONS. Cellular composition and structural organization of these inflammation-associated tertiary lymphoid tissue structures and the expression of markers of matured T and B cells point to highly organized adaptive immune responses in these follicles in spontaneous recurrent uveitis.

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