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Immunology. 2000 Nov;101(3):426-33.

Control of chemokine production at the blood-retina barrier.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University of Aberdeen Medical School, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, UK.


Chemokine production at the blood-retina barrier probably plays a critical role in determining the influx of tissue-damaging cells from the circulation into the retina during inflammation. The blood-retina barrier comprises the retinal microvascular endothelium and the retinal pigment epithelium. Chemokine expression and production by human retinal microvascular endothelial cells (REC) have never been reported previously, so we examined the in vitro expression and production of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), regulated on activation of normal T-cell expressed and secreted (RANTES), macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1alpha, MIP-1beta, interleukin (IL)-8, epithelial cell-derived neutrophil activating protein-78 (ENA-78) and growth related oncogene alpha (GROalpha) in these cells, both unstimulated and stimulated by cytokines likely to be present during the evolution of an inflammatory response. We compared this to expression and production of these chemokines in vitro in human retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE). MCP-1 was expressed and produced constitutively by REC but all the chemokines were produced in greater amounts upon stimulation with the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1beta and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). MCP-1 and IL-8 were produced at much higher levels than the other chemokines tested. MIP-1alpha and MIP-1beta were present only at low levels, even after stimulation with IL-1beta and TNF-alpha. Cytokines with greater anti-inflammatory activity, such as IL-4, IL-10, IL-13, transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) and IL-6, had little effect on chemokine production either by REC alone or after stimulation with IL-1beta and TNF-alpha. RPE, although a very different cell type, showed a similar pattern of expression and production of chemokines, indicating the site-specific nature of chemokine production. Chemokine production by REC and RPE is probably significant in selective leucocyte recruitment during the development of inflammation in the retina.

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