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CD8(+) T Cells Promote Pathological Angiogenesis in Ocular Neovascular Disease


BACKGROUND: CD4(+) (cluster of differentation) and CD8(+) T cells are increased in the ocular fluids of patients with neovascular retinopathy, yet their role in the disease process is unknown. METHODS: We describe how CD8(+) T cells migrate into the retina and contribute to pathological angiogenesis by releasing cytokines and cytotoxic factors. RESULTS: In oxygen-induced retinopathy, flow cytometry revealed the numbers of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells were increased in blood, lymphoid organs, and retina throughout the development of neovascular retinopathy. Interestingly, the depletion of CD8(+) T cells but not CD4(+) T cells reduced retinal neovascularization and vascular leakage. Using reporter mice expressing gfp (green fluorescence protein) in CD8(+) T cells, these cells were localized near neovascular tufts in the retina, confirming that CD8(+) T cells contribute to the disease. Furthermore, the adoptive transfer of CD8(+) T cells deficient in TNF (tumor necrosis factor), IFNgamma (interferon gamma), Prf (perforin), or GzmA/B (granzymes A/B) into immunocompetent Rag1(-/-) mice revealed that CD8(+) T cells mediate retinal vascular disease via these factors, with TNF influencing all aspects of vascular pathology. The pathway by which CD8(+) T cells migrate into the retina was identified as CXCR3 (C-X-C motif chemokine receptor 3) with the CXCR3 blockade reducing the number of CD8(+) T cells within the retina and retinal vascular disease. CONCLUSIONS: We discovered that CXCR3 is central to the migration of CD8(+) T cells into the retina as the CXCR3 blockade reduced the number of CD8(+) T cells within the retina and vasculopathy. This research identified an unappreciated role for CD8(+) T cells in retinal inflammation and vascular disease. Reducing CD8(+) T cells via their inflammatory and recruitment pathways is a potential treatment for neovascular retinopathies.

Type Journal
ISBN 1524-4636 (Electronic) 1079-5642 (Linking)
Authors Deliyanti, D.; Figgett, W. A.; Gebhardt, T.; Trapani, J. A.; Mackay, F.; Wilkinson-Berka, J. L.
Published Date 2023-04-30
Published Volume 43
Published Issue 4
Published Pages 522-536
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1161/ATVBAHA.122.318079
URL link to publisher's version