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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2006 Jun;47(6):2547-54.

Ocular infiltrating CD4+ T cells from patients with Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease recognize human melanocyte antigens.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Tokyo Medical and Dental University Graduate School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.



To determine whether patients with Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) disease have immune responses specific to the melanocyte antigens tyrosinase and gp100.


T-cell clones (TCCs) were established from cells infiltrating the aqueous humor and from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of patients with VKH. The target cells were LDR4-transfected cells (HLA-DRB1*0405). The TCCs were cocultured with LDR4 in the presence of tyrosinase (tyrosinase450-462: SYLQDSDPDSFQD), gp100 (gp100(44-59): WNRQLYPEWTEAQRLD), or a control peptide. The immune response was evaluated by cytokine production. The responding melanocyte peptide-specific VKH-TCCs were characterized by an immunofluorescence method with flow cytometry. A search was made for molecular mimicry among tyrosinase450-462, gp100(44-59), and exogenous antigens, such as viruses, by database screening.


Cells infiltrating the eye and PBMCs in HLA-DR4+ (HLA-DRB1*0405, 0410) patients with VKH contained a population of CD4+ T lymphocytes that recognized tyrosinase and gp100 peptides and produced RANTES and IFN-gamma in response to the two peptides. The T cells were active memory Th1-type lymphocytes, and they recognized the tyrosinase peptide and produced IFN-gamma in response to HLA-DRB1*0405+ melanoma cells. Cytomegalovirus envelope glycoprotein H (CMV-egH290-302) had high amino acid homology with the tyrosinase peptide. In addition, some of the VKH-TCCs recognized CMV-egH290-302 peptide, as well as the tyrosinase peptides.


In VKH there are tyrosinase and gp100 peptide-specific T cells that can mediate an inflammatory response. Such melanocyte antigen-specific T cells could be associated with the cause and pathology of VKH disease.

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