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Mucosal immunity at the ocular surface

Friday, November 08, 2013 — Poster Session IV

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

FAES Academic Center (Upper-Level Terrace)




  • AJ St. Leger
  • MJ Mattapallil
  • IJ Fuss
  • W Strober
  • RR Caspi


The ocular surface represents a mucosal interface between the environment and the host. Similarly to the well-studied lymphoid tissue of the gut, cells of the conjunctiva-associated lymphoid tissue (CALT) are organized into follicles. Humans exhibit CALT in healthy eyes, and the number and size of follicles increase with inflammation, suggesting a functional role for CALT in immunity at the ocular surface. Functional descriptions of CALT are lacking. Therefore, we aimed to develop a mouse model to study the dynamics and functional parameters of CALT in normal and immunologically perturbed hosts. We utilized mice that were deficient in IL-10 and/or IL-22, as well as mice with an NLRP3 mutation associated with the clinical syndrome Muckle-Wells, which includes ocular inflammation. After 8 days of topical ocular treatment with a cocktail of defined innate (TLR, NLR) and adaptive (OVA) stimulants, we observed a robust expansion of innate and adaptive immune cells in the CALT. Despite drainage into the nasal passages, we observed no apparent effects of the treatment in the nasal-associated lymphoid tissue or regional lymph nodes. These studies establish a working mouse model to analyze the functional characteristics of CALT, which is an understudied component of the mucosal immune system.

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