Characterization of Toxoplasma gondii-specific T cells recovered from vitreous fluid of patients with ocular toxoplasmosis

E J Feron, V N Klaren, E A Wierenga, G M Verjans, A Kijlstra

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


    PURPOSE: The mechanisms involved in reactivations of latent ocular Toxoplasma gondii (Tg) infections in immunocompetent patients are poorly understood. In view of the possible role of T cells in the immunopathogenesis of the disease, ocular infiltrating T cells obtained from patients with recurrent ocular toxoplasmosis were characterized phenotypically and functionally.

    METHODS: Ocular infiltrating T cells were recovered from vitreous fluid (VF) samples of 10 patients with active recurrent ocular toxoplasmosis. Two patients with uveitis of other origins were included as control subjects. T-cell lines (TCLs) were generated by mitogenic stimulation and tested for reactivity to Tg and human retinal protein extracts. The TCLs of three patients were cloned by limiting dilution. Tg-reactive T-cell clones (TCCs) were characterized with respect to their phenotype, T-cell receptor variable (TCR V)-beta gene usage, HLA restriction, and cytokine secretion profile.

    RESULTS: Reactivity to Tg could be detected only in the TCLs of patients with ocular toxoplasmosis. None of the TCLs showed reactivity to human retinal antigens. All tested intraocular Tg-specific TCCs (n = 23) were CD3+CD4+ and displayed differential TCR Vbeta usage. Twenty-one TCCs were HLA-DR restricted and two TCCs were restricted by HLA-DP. The majority of the intraocular Tg-specific TCCs showed a bias toward a T-helper (Th)0-Th2 cytokine profile.

    CONCLUSIONS: The data indicate that T cells specific for the triggering microorganism infiltrate the eye of patients with recurrent ocular toxoplasmosis. The functional characteristics of the VF-derived Tg-specific T cells and their presence at the site of inflammation suggest their involvement in the local inflammatory response of ocular toxoplasmosis.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3228-32
    Number of pages5
    JournalInvestigative ophthalmology & visual science
    Issue number13
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001


    • Adult
    • Aged
    • Animals
    • CD3 Complex/analysis
    • CD4 Antigens/analysis
    • Cytokines/metabolism
    • Female
    • HLA Antigens/analysis
    • Humans
    • Male
    • Middle Aged
    • Phenotype
    • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/analysis
    • T-Lymphocytes/immunology
    • Toxoplasma/immunology
    • Toxoplasmosis, Ocular/immunology
    • Uveitis/immunology
    • Vitreous Body/immunology


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