Date Published:2016 Nov
Dendritic cells (DCs) are antigen-presenting cells that normally play a critical role in stimulating T-cell-dependent immune responses. However, tolerogenic DCs (CD11cMHC-IICD80CD86) induce immune tolerance by stimulating regulatory T cells (Tregs: CD4CD25Foxp3). Although tolerogenic DCs are used to treat autoimmune diseases and to prevent transplantation rejection, the mechanisms by which they regulate alloimmunity are poorly understood. Here, we review our previous studies aiming to elucidate the mechanisms involved in immune rejection of corneal allografts using a corneal transplant model. We found that donor-derived tolerogenic DCs significantly prolonged corneal allograft survival by suppressing indirect allosensitization. We also reported the precise distribution of intraepithelial corneal DCs, termed Langerhans cells (LCs: CD11cLangerinMHC-II) in the cornea, which we maintain play a critical role in regulating corneal immunity. By confocal microscopy, we constructed 3-dimensional images of corneal LCs, which demonstrated that their cell bodies are present in the basal cell layer of the corneal epithelium. Furthermore, LC dendrites extend toward the ocular surface, but do not connect to epithelial tight junctions, indicating that they cannot directly interact with ocular surface antigens. We confirm the potential of DC therapy for corneal graft rejection and report the function of intraepithelial DCs (LCs) in the normal cornea.