Uveitis-associated epitopes of retinal antigens are pathogenic in the humanized mouse model of uveitis and identify autoaggressive T cells

Mary J. Mattapallil, Phyllis B. Silver, Joseph J. Mattapallil, Reiko Horai, Zaruhi Karabekian, J. Hugh McDowell, Chi Chao Chan, Eddie A. James, William W. Kwok, H. Nida Sen, Robert B. Nussenblatt, Chella S. David, Rachel R. Caspi

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Abstract

Noninfectious uveitis is a leading cause of blindness and thought to involve autoimmune T cell responses to retinal proteins (e.g., retinal arrestin [soluble-Ag (S-Ag)]). There are no known biomarkers for the Disease. Susceptibility is associated with HLA, but little is known about susceptible class II alleles or the potentially pathogenic epitopes that they present. Using a humanized HLAtransgenic mouse model of S-Ag-induced autoimmune uveitis, we identified several susceptible and resistant alleles of HLADR and -DQ genes and defined pathogenic epitopes of S-Ag presented by the susceptible alleles. The sequences of these epitopes overlap with some previously identified peptides of S-Ag ("M" and "N"), known to elicit memory responses in lymphocytes of uveitis patients. HLA-DR-restricted, S-Ag-specific CD4+ T cells could be detected in blood and draining lymph nodes of uveitic mice with HLA class II tetramers and transferred the disease to healthy mice. Importantly, tetramer-positive cells were detected in peripheral blood of a uveitis patient. To our knowledge, these findings provide the first tangible evidence that an autoimmune response to retina is causally involved in pathogenesis of human uveitis, demonstrating the feasibility of identifying and isolating retinal Ag-specific T cells from uveitis patients and may facilitate their development as biomarkers for the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1977-1985
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume187
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 2011

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

Cite this

Mattapallil, M. J., Silver, P. B., Mattapallil, J. J., Horai, R., Karabekian, Z., McDowell, J. H., Chan, C. C., James, E. A., Kwok, W. W., Sen, H. N., Nussenblatt, R. B., David, C. S., & Caspi, R. R. (2011). Uveitis-associated epitopes of retinal antigens are pathogenic in the humanized mouse model of uveitis and identify autoaggressive T cells. Journal of Immunology, 187(4), 1977-1985. https://doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1101247