Experimental melanin-protein-induced uveitis in the Lewis rat. Immunopathologic processes

Ophthalmology. 1994 Jul;101(7):1275-80. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(94)31199-7.


Purpose: To study the immunopathology of experimental melanin-protein-induced uveitis in the Lewis rat.

Methods: Rats were immunized with bovine ocular melanin protein. The kinetics of experimental melanin-protein-induced uveitis was studied by clinical examination and immunopathology. Cellular and humoral responses were evaluated by lymphocyte proliferation, delayed-type hypersensitivity, and agglutination. After clinical disease subsided, recurrent experimental uveitis was induced with a low-dose footpad injection of lipopolysaccharide.

Results: Experimental melanin-protein-induced uveitis was characterized by bilateral uveal infiltration mainly with lymphocytes and monocytes. Delayed-type hypersensitivity, lymphocyte proliferation, and agglutination to bovine ocular melanin protein were positive. Expressions of major histocompatibility complex class II and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 were observed before ocular infiltration. The predominantly infiltrating cells were CD4+ lymphocytes. Experimental melanin-protein-induced uveitis subsided within 1 month, spontaneously recurred within 1 week in approximately one quarter of the rats, and was inducible in most rats with 5 micrograms of lipopolysaccharide confirmed by histopathology.

Conclusions: Experimental melanin-protein-induced uveitis is a T-cell-mediated autoimmune uveitis, resembling noninfectious recurrent iridocyclitis and choroiditis in humans.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / chemically induced
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / pathology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / analysis
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eye Proteins
  • Female
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / analysis
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Melanins
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Recurrence
  • Uveitis / chemically induced
  • Uveitis / immunology*
  • Uveitis / pathology*


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Eye Proteins
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Melanins