Genetic background determines susceptibility to experimental immune-mediated blepharoconjunctivitis: comparison of Balb/c and C57BL/6 mice

Exp Eye Res. 2006 Feb;82(2):210-8. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2005.06.010. Epub 2005 Aug 18.


Balb/c and C57BL/6 mice have been reported to be biased towards Th2 and Th1 immune responses, respectively. We investigated which strain is more susceptible to the development of experimental immune-mediated blepharoconjunctivitis (EC), which is predominantly mediated by Th2 immune responses. EC was induced by three different methods in Balb/c and C57BL/6 mice using ragweed (RW) as the antigen. The mice were thus either actively immunized with RW, passively immunized by transfer of RW-primed T cells, or passively immunized by transfer of RW-specific IgE, followed by RW challenge in eye drops. Twenty-four hours after the challenge, conjunctivas, sera and spleens were harvested for histological analysis, measurement of serum IgE and assessment of cellular immune responses, respectively. The responses of the Balb/c and C57BL/6 mice were compared. In addition, to assess the involvement of IFN-gamma in the development of EC in the two strains, IFN-gamma knockout (GKO) mice of the two strains were actively immunized and evaluated as above. Regardless of the method of induction, EC, as determined by the degree of eosinophil infiltration into the conjunctiva, was more severe in Balb/c mice than in C57BL/6 mice. Moreover, more IgE was produced by actively immunized Balb/c mice than C57BL/6 mice and RW-primed splenocytes from Balb/c mice produced more IL-4 but less IFN-gamma than those from C57BL/6 mice. EC could be induced in the GKO mice of both strains. However, when their EC was compared to that in WT mice, significantly less infiltration of eosinophils was noted in the Balb/c GKO mice. Taken together, Balb/c mice are more susceptible to EC than C57BL/6 mice and this higher susceptibility might be related to the Th2 immune response bias of Balb/c mice. Furthermore, the involvement of endogenous IFN-gamma in the development of EC in these two strains differs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Ambrosia
  • Animals
  • Blepharitis / genetics*
  • Blepharitis / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / transplantation
  • Conjunctivitis / genetics*
  • Conjunctivitis / immunology*
  • Eosinophils / immunology
  • Eye / immunology*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Immunization
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Pollen
  • Species Specificity
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • Immunoglobulin E