Inflammatory mediators in uveitis: differential induction of cytokines and chemokines in Th1- versus Th2-mediated ocular inflammation

J Immunol. 2002 Mar 1;168(5):2483-92. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.168.5.2483.


Ocular inflammation leads to vision loss through the destruction and scarring of delicate tissues along the visual axis. To identify inflammatory mediators involved in this process, we used real time RT-PCR to quantify the expression of mRNA transcripts of 34 cytokines, 26 chemokines, and 14 chemokine receptors at certain time points during T cell-mediated ocular inflammation. We induced disease by adoptive transfer of Ag-specific Th1 or Th2 cells into recipients expressing the target Ag in their eyes. We also compared the mediator expression patterns seen in adoptive transfer-induced inflammation with that seen in mouse eyes developing experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis. In addition, we used laser capture microdissection to examine chemokine mRNA production by both retinal pigment epithelium cells and infiltrating leukocytes in inflamed eyes. Major findings included the following: 1) Three patterns of expression of the inflammation-related molecules were seen in recipients of adoptively transferred Th cells: preferential expression in Th1 recipients, or in Th2 recipients, or similar expression in both recipient groups. 2) In experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis, the inflammatory mediator expression pattern largely paralleled that seen in Th1-induced disease. 3) Both retinal pigment epithelium and infiltrating leukocytes expressed chemokine transcripts in distinct, but overlapping patterns in inflamed eyes. 4) Interestingly, transcripts of multiple cytokines, chemokines, and chemokine receptors were constitutively expressed in high levels in mouse eyes. Seven of these molecules have not been previously associated with the eye. These data underscore the multiplicity of mediators that participate in the pathogenesis of eye inflammation and point to upstream cytokines as potential therapeutic targets.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Cell Movement
  • Chemokines / biosynthesis*
  • Chemokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Kinetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Muramidase / genetics
  • Muramidase / immunology
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / immunology
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / transplantation
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / transplantation
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Uveitis / immunology*
  • Uveitis / pathology


  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • hen egg lysozyme
  • Muramidase