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J Immunol. 2010 Jun 1;184(11):6076-83. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0902300. Epub 2010 Apr 21.

Allergic conjunctivitis exacerbates corneal allograft rejection by activating Th1 and th2 alloimmune responses.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390-9057, USA.


Allergic conjunctivitis (AC) and airway hyperreactivity exacerbate corneal allograft rejection. Because AC and airway hyperreactivity are allergic diseases of mucosal tissues, we determined whether an allergic disease of a nonmucosal tissue would affect corneal allograft rejection and whether Th2 cells alone accounted for accelerated graft rejection in allergic mice. Hosts sensitized cutaneously with short ragweed pollen developed cutaneous immediate hypersensitivity but rejected corneal allografts at the same tempo and incidence as naive mice. Th2 immune deviation induced with keyhole limpet hemocyanin and IFA did not affect corneal allograft rejection. Thus, Th2 immune deviation alone does not account for the exacerbation of corneal allograft rejection that occurs in mice with AC. CD4(+) T cells from AC mice elaborated Th1 (IFN-gamma) and Th2 (IL-13) cytokines when challenged with donor alloantigens. Adoptive transfer of Th1 or Th2 cells to nude mice, from AC mice that had rejected corneal allografts, produced graft rejection in 70% and 20% of the hosts, respectively. In contrast, adoptive transfer of a combination of Th1 and Th2 cells produced 100% rejection. Administration of exogenous IFN-gamma could substitute for Th1 cells and produced 100% corneal allograft rejection in recipients of Th2 cells alone. By contrast, IFN-gamma did not significantly enhance corneal allograft rejection mediated by Th1 cells. Thus, exacerbation of corneal allograft rejection in mice with AC is associated with a mixed Th1 and Th2 alloimmune response, and the contribution of Th1 cells is through their production of IFN-gamma.

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