Desiccating stress induces T cell-mediated Sjögren's syndrome-like lacrimal keratoconjunctivitis

Jerry Y. Niederkorn, Michael E. Stern, Stephen C. Plugfelder, Cintia S. De Paiva, Rosa M. Corrales, Jianping Gao, Karyn Siemasko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

290 Scopus citations


Chronic dry eye syndrome affects over 10 million people in the United States; it is associated with inflammation of the lacrimal gland (LG) and in some cases involves T cell infiltration of the conjunctiva. We demonstrate that environmental desiccating stress (DS) elicits T cell-mediated inflammation of the cornea, conjunctiva, and LG, but not other organs in mice. The lacrimal keratoconjunctivitis (LKC) was mediated by CD4+ T cells, which, when adoptively transferred to T cell-deficient nude mice, produced inflammation in the LG, cornea, and conjunctiva, but not in any other organ. Adoptively transferred CD4+ T cells produced LKC even though recipients were not exposed to DS. LKC was exacerbated in euthymic mice depleted of CD4 +CD25+forkhead/winged helix transcription factor + regulatory T cells. The results suggest that DS exposes shared epitopes in the cornea, conjunctiva, and LG that induce pathogenic CD4 + T cells that produce LKC, which under normal circumstances is restrained by CD4+CD25+forkhead/winged helix transcription factor+ regulatory T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3950-3957
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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