, Volume 14, Issue 5-6, pp 303-308

The natural history of uveitis

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Summary

Inflammatory diseases of the eye were known to the ancients, but only recently have the underlying mechanisms to this problem become better defined. During the middle portion of this century, most cases of uveitis thought to be caused by infectious agents, such as those responsible for syphilis and tuberculosis. Since then, it has become clear that endogenous mechanisms of immunomodulation play an important role in these disorders, which along with environmental and genetic factors make up an important triad. Animals studies have indicated the pivotal role of the T-cell in many of these disorders. The development of T-cell lines has helped to further delineate cell to cell interactions that occur during an ocular inflammatory event. The presence in the eye of uveitogenic antigens raises the strong possibility of autoimmune driven processes as well, similar to what is seen in the animal models. The better understanding of ocular inflammatory mechanisms has led to improved therapeutic strategies, including Sandimmune, and more recently Cyclosporine G, a related compound that may be less nephrotoxic. Newer therapeutic strategies will focus on even more novel modes of immunomodulation, probably without the use of medications.