Allergic eye disease, as in most forms of atopy, ranges in severity among individuals from immediate hypersensitivity to a severe and debilitating chronic disease. Dendritic cells play a key role in stimulating pathogenic T cells in allergen re-exposure, or secondary responses. However, molecular cues by dendritic cells underpinning allergic T cell response levels and the impact that this control has on consequent severity of allergic disease are poorly understood. Here, we show that a deficiency in thrombospondin-1, a matricellular protein known to affect immune function, has subsequent effects on downstream T cell responses during allergy, as revealed in an established mouse model of allergic eye disease. More specifically, we demonstrate that a thrombospondin-1 deficiency specific to dendritic cells leads to heightened secondary T cell responses and consequent clinical disease. Interestingly, whereas thrombospondin-1-deficient dendritic cells augmented activity of allergen-primed T cells, this increase was not recapitulated with naïve T cells in vitro. The role of dendritic cell-derived thrombospondin-1 in regulating secondary allergic T cell responses was confirmed in vivo, as local transfer of thrombospondin-1-sufficient dendritic cells to the ocular mucosa of thrombospondin-1 null hosts prevented the development of augmented secondary T cell responses and heightened allergic eye disease clinical responses. Finally, we demonstrate that topical instillation of thrombospondin-1-derived peptide reduces T cell activity and clinical progression of allergic eye disease. Taken together, this study reveals an important modulatory role of dendritic cell-derived thrombospondin-1 on secondary allergic T cell responses and suggests the possible dysregulation of dendritic cell-derived thrombospondin-1 expression as a factor in allergic eye disease severity.
Keywords: AED; Th2; conjunctivitis.
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