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Ophthalmology. 1991 Mar;98(3):334-41.

T cells and trachoma. Their role in cicatricial disease.

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Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, Wilmer Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.


Frozen sections of tarsoconjunctival biopsies with trachomatous scarring from 14 black adults undergoing corrective surgery for trichiasis, and "normal" tissue from three postmortem controls, were immunohistochemically stained for the major T- and B-cell subsets, and for macrophages and monocytes. T cells outnumbered B cells by 2 to 17 times, and macrophages and monocytes by approximately 20 times in all specimens. Biopsies were categorized as "inflamed" if a cumulative inflammatory score of cellular staining in the substantia propria with CD4, CD8, and OKM1 monoclonal antibodies was greater than that of control tissues. CD4+ lymphocytes predominated over CD8+ lymphocytes in 5 of 7 inflamed biopsies, whereas CD8+ lymphocytes predominated over CD4+ lymphocytes in 5 of 7 noninflamed biopsies. Lymphoid aggregates were present in five inflamed biopsies, but lacked germinal centers, centrally located B cells, or parafollicular T cells typical of the acute stage of trachoma. CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes also were observed in the epithelium and lumen of Meibomian glands. These observations indicate that the inflammatory infiltrate of the tarsoconjunctiva in the cicatricial stage of trachoma is comprised predominantly of T cells, and suggests that T cells may be involved in the genesis of tarsal thickening and conjunctival scarring seen in the later stages of trachoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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