How does the adaptive immune system contribute to herpes stromal keratitis?


Research Description

  • The second type of immune system that protects us from infection is called the adaptive immune system because it can adapt by generating cells and molecules that specifically respond to the proteins on an infecting pathogen
  • The advantage of adaptive immune cells is that they can “remember” a pathogen and respond to it more rapidly upon a second encounter, which is the basis of vaccination
  • When not properly controlled, adaptive immune cells can cause chronic inflammation as is seen in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, etc.
  • Previous studies from the Ocular Immunology laboratory established that herpes stromal keratitis results from a poorly regulated immune response to HSV-1 that results in damaging inflammation in the cornea
  • This project is designed to identify immune mechanisms that cause damage to the cornea and are dispensable for protection from virus replication, with the goal of preventing the excessive inflammation that leads to corneal scarring