Purpose: Experimental immune-mediated blepharoconjunctivitis (EC) was induced in Lewis rats by immunization with ovalbumin (OVA) in complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) or aluminum hydroxide [Al(OH)3]. To investigate the affect of genetic factors on the susceptibility of EC, we tested different strains of rats for the development of EC.
Methods: Lewis and Brown Norway (BN) rats were immunized once with 100 microg of OVA in CFA or Al(OH)3. Three weeks later they were challenged with OVA in eye drops; 24 hours after the challenge they were sacrificed and their eyes, blood, and lymph nodes were harvested for histological studies, measurement of OVA-specific antibodies (IgG, IgG1, IgG2a, IgE), and proliferation or cytokine assay, respectively. ELISA was used to detect OVA-specific IgG; passive cutaneous anaphylaxis was used for detecting IgE.
Results: EC, OVA-specific IgG, and cellular immunity were induced in Lewis rats by using either adjuvant, whereas IgE was not produced by either adjuvant. In contrast, IgE was produced in BN rats using either adjuvant, whereas cellular immunity was evoked only when CFA was used. Less cellular infiltration as well as cellular proliferation was detected in BN rats immunized with Al(OH)3. In both strains, Al(OH)3 induced a higher IgG1/IgG2a ratio than did CFA. More interferon-gamma by stimulation with OVA was noted in Lewis rats compared to BN rats, whereas interleukin-4 was detected only in BN rats.
Conclusions: The severity of EC evaluated by cellular infiltration was dependent on OVA-specific cellular immunity. Genetic background is more important than adjuvants in determining the nature of EC and immunity.