Author(s): Morohoshi K, Goodwin AM, Ohbayashi M, Ono SJ
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Abstract Autoantibody production is associated with a variety of ocular disorders, including autoimmune retinopathy (AIR) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). A breakdown of immunologic tolerance (ocular immune privilege), including the blood-retinal barrier, anti-immune and anti-inflammatory proteins, and anterior chamber-associated immune deviation may play important roles in these disorders. Although the exact triggers for ocular autoimmunity are unknown, autoimmune targeting of retinal tissue is clearly associated with and may contribute to the pathogenesis of both AIR and AMD. Autoantibody production has long been associated with AIR, a collection of disorders that includes cancer-associated retinopathy, melanoma-associated retinopathy and non-paraneoplastic autoimmune retinopathy. A growing body of evidence indicates that AMD pathogenesis, too, involves ocular inflammation and autoimmunity. Identification and quantification of autoantibodies produced in patients with AIR and AMD may assist with diagnosis, prognosis, and choice of treatments. Animal models that allow investigation of ocular autoimmunity will also be needed to better understand the disease processes and to develop novel therapies. In this review we discuss ocular immune privilege and potential mechanisms of autoimmunity in the eye. We describe how autoimmunity relates to the pathogenesis of AIR and AMD. We explain how the antigen microarray technique is used to detect autoantibodies in patient serum samples, and discuss how current animal models for AMD can be used to investigate autoimmune pathogenesis. Finally, we outline unanswered questions and exciting areas of future study related to autoimmune retinal degeneration.
This article was published in J Autoimmun
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology