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Research Abstracts Online
January 2008 - March 2009

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Medical School
Department of Ophthalmology

PI: Dale S. Gregerson

Identification, Characterization, and Functional Analysis of Dendritic Cells in the Retina

Uveitis, modeled in the Gregerson laboratory by experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU), is a major cause of visual handicaps in the world and has been estimated to account for up to 10% of the cases of legal blindness. EAU is an experimental T cell-mediated autoimmune disease that targets the neural retina. The activation of adaptive, T cell immune responses in nervous system tissue, whether protective, pathogenic, or regulatory, requires antigen presenting cells (APCs); specifically, dendritic cells (DCs). APCs, especially DCs, in the retina have not been identified or characterized.

CD11c is presently the most reliable surface marker for dendritic cells. Preliminary studies show that the retina is a dynamic environment in which CD11c+ cells change rapidly. Proposed studies will extend these observations to examine the phenotype, function, and origin of the CD11c+ cells as APC, whether recruited or derived from differentiation of microglia. The studies are based on confocal microscopy and its ability to localize the DCs in specific regions of the retina, and their association with other cells. By turning the two-dimensional layers of confocal image sections into three-dimensional reconstructions, their precise locations can be determined.

Group Member

Ute Lehmann, Graduate Student