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Cornea. 2003 May;22(4):343-51.

Tumor necrosis factor inhibitor gene expression suppresses lacrimal gland immunopathology in a rabbit model of autoimmune dacryoadenitis.

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Department of Opthalmology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90033, USA.



To evaluate the effect of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor protein on lacrimal gland immunopathology and ocular surface disease resulting from induced dacryoadenitis.


Autoimmune dacryoadenitis was induced in rabbits by injecting the lacrimal glands with peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) activated by 5 days of coculture with autologous acinar cells in a mixed cell reaction. In the treated group, an adenoviral vector carrying the TNF inhibitor gene (AdTNFRp55-Ig) was concurrently injected with AMCR-PBL. Tear production was monitored by Schirmer test, and tears were collected for detection of TNF-inhibitor protein. Frozen sections of the glands were immunostained for expression of CD4, CD8, rabbit thymic lymphocyte antigen (RTLA), and CD18. Histological sections of lacrimal glands were examined using the TUNEL technique to monitor apoptosis.


Soluble TNF-inhibitor protein was detected by ELISA in tears, with titers at a maximum on day 3, declining by day 7, and undetectable by day 14. Tear production declined in the induced dacryoadenitis group but did not change when glands had been treated with AdTNFRp55-Ig simultaneously with disease induction. Tear break-up time and rose bengal staining properties were not altered by treatment. Fourteen days after the glands were injected with activated PBLs, focal mononuclear cell infiltrates were observed around ducts and venules, some of which assumed the high endothelial phenotype, and between acini. Immune cells in the infiltrates stained positive for CD4, RTLA, and CD18. Glands that received AdTNFRp55-Ig concurrently with activated PBLs had decreased numbers of CD4 cells, CD18 cells, RTLA, and apoptotic cells.


In vivo transduction of the lacrimal gland with AdTNFRIp55-Ig resulted in transient expression in the gland and the appearance of TNF-inhibitor protein in tears. The presence of soluble TNF-inhibitor protein partially suppressed the appearance of Sjögren's syndrome-like features of reduced tear production and the immunohistopathology associated with induced autoimmune dacryoadenitis but not tear break-up time and ocular surface disease. This may reflect immunoregulation in the lacrimal gland but not in the conjunctiva.

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