Background: The inflammatory cell content of subretinal membranes occurring in proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) has not yet been well characterized. This study was undertaken to investigate the inflammatory cells present in PVR subretinal membranes.
Methods: Eight subretinal membranes obtained surgically from eyes with PVR complicating rhegmatogenous retinal detachment were studied immunohistochemically using the avidin-biotin complex technique and a panel of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies.
Results: T lymphocytes were found in five of the eight subretinal membranes. CD4+ T cells were demonstrated in four and CD8+ T cells in one of the membranes. T cells bearing the interleukin 2 receptor were found in two of four membranes studied. Macrophages were found in four membranes. No B lymphocytes or neutrophils were demonstrated, and there were no significant deposits of complement or immunoglobulins. Expression of the MHC class II antigen HLA DR was consistently found in frozen specimens. Glial cells and retinal pigment epithelial cells also were present in the membranes, often adjacent to T cells, although overall no obvious relationship was found between glial or retinal epithelial cells and T cells.
Conclusion: The findings indicate that T lymphocytes are present in PVR subretinal membranes and have the potential to interact with other cell types in the pathogenesis of this condition.