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J Immunol. 2000 Dec 15;165(12):7323-9.

Tyrosinase family proteins are antigens specific to Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Akita University School of Medicine, Akita City, Japan.


Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) disease (and sympathetic ophthalmia) is an ocular inflammatory disease that is considered to be a cell-mediated autoimmune disease against melanocytes. The purpose of this study was to determine the Ags specific to VKH disease and to develop an animal model of VKH disease. We found that exposure of lymphocytes from patients with VKH disease to peptides (30-mer) derived from the tyrosinase family proteins led to significant proliferation of the lymphocytes. Immunization of these peptides into pigmented rats induced ocular and extraocular changes that highly resembled human VKH disease, and we suggest that an experimental VKH disease was induced in these rats. We conclude that VKH disease is an autoimmune disease against the tyrosinase family proteins.

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