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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1999 Dec;40(13):3202-8.

Immune privilege is extended, then withdrawn, from allogeneic tumor cell grafts placed in the subretinal space.

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  • 1Schepens Eye Research Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.



To determine whether the subretinal space can extend immune privilege to allogeneic tumor cell grafts that do not possess their own inherent immune privilege.


P815 tumor cells were injected into the anterior chamber (AC), the subretinal (SR) space, or subconjunctivally in eyes of BALB/c (allogeneic), SCID (immune incompetent), normal DBA/2 (syngeneic), or DBA/2 mice presensitized with P815 cells transfected with interleukin-12 and B7.1. Tumor growth was observed clinically and histologically for up to 50 days. BALB/c recipients were tested for suppression of DBA/2-specific delayed hypersensitivity and concomitant immunity. The SR space of tumor-containing eyes was assessed for its capacity to support ovalbumin (OVA)-specific anterior chamber associated immune deviation (ACAID).


P815 cells injected into the SR space of presensitized and normal DBA/2 and SCID mice grew progressively, resulting eventually in recipient death. Tumor cells injected into the SR space of eyes of BALB/c mice grew progressively until day 14, followed by tumor regression resulting in phthisis bulbi (14/35) or tumor elimination (19/35) with preserved ocular anatomy by day 35. Despite elimination of tumors from the SR space, BALB/c recipients exhibited DBA/2-specific ACAID and concomitant immunity. In addition, OVA injected into the SR space of eyes from which tumor has been eliminated induced ACAID.


Various parameters of immune privilege, originally described for the AC, are characteristic of immune privilege within the SR space. However, because P815 cells placed in the AC prove lethal for BALB/c recipients, but P815 cells placed in the SR space resolve without jeopardizing the host's life, immune privilege in the SR space can be distinguished from immune privilege in the AC, and this may have implications for grafts of retinal tissue placed within the SR space.

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