Subretinal space and vitreous cavity as immunologically privileged sites for retinal allografts

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1993 Nov;34(12):3347-54.


Purpose: Because immune rejection is likely to be a major barrier to successful retinal transplantation, it is important to determine whether immune privilege for allogeneic retinal grafts is a feature of the subretinal space and vitreous cavity.

Methods: Newborn neural retinas of C57BL/6 mice were implanted into the subretinal space, vitreous cavity, or subconjunctival space of eyes of adult BALB/c (disparate from C57BL/6 at major and minor histocompatibility loci). At postimplantation day 12, the recipients were evaluated for donor-specific delayed hypersensitivity and examined clinically and histologically for evidence of rejection.

Results: Newborn neural retinal allografts in the subconjunctival space were destroyed by postimplantation day 12 and these recipients displayed intense donor-specific delayed hypersensitivity. By contrast, grafts in the subretinal space and vitreous cavity at postimplantation day 12 were found to be well differentiated and with no evidence of inflammation; these recipients failed to display donor-specific delayed hypersensitivity. Moreover, their spleens contained regulatory T cells that suppressed donor-specific delayed hypersensitivity in naive syngeneic recipients.

Conclusions: Allogeneic newborn neural retinal grafts implanted in the subretinal space and vitreous cavity experience immune privilege and induce deviant immune responses resembling anterior chamber associated immune deviation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Antigens / metabolism
  • Arrestin
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Conjunctiva / immunology
  • Conjunctiva / pathology
  • Eye Proteins / metabolism
  • Graft Rejection / immunology
  • Graft Rejection / pathology
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / immunology
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / pathology
  • Immunity
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Retina / immunology*
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retina / transplantation*
  • Spleen / immunology
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Vitreous Body / immunology*
  • Vitreous Body / pathology


  • Antigens
  • Arrestin
  • Eye Proteins