, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 135-143
Date: 04 Mar 2008

New perspectives on effector mechanisms in uveitis

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Experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU) in its several variants represents human autoimmune uveitis and has been instrumental in obtaining insights into the basic mechanisms of disease. Studies have uncovered that in addition to CD4+ Th1 cells, uveitis can be induced also by CD8+ T cells. Antibodies may have a secondary role after the blood–retinal barrier has been broken. The role in uveitis of a recently discovered IL-17-producing effector T cell type, Th17, is being intensively studied. Th17 cells elicit EAU, can be found in uveitic eyes along with Th1 cells, and are dominant in some types of EAU. In other types of EAU, Th1 cells have a dominant role. The dominant effector type is at least in part determined by conditions under which initial exposure to self-antigen occurs. These findings shed light on the heterogeneity of human disease and may ultimately help to develop better and more rational treatment strategies for human uveitis.