Colitis in a transgenic mouse model of autoimmune uveitis may be induced by neoantigen presentation in the bowel

Heather Wilson, John Forrester, Christine Moelzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Undifferentiated uveitis (intraocular inflammation, IOI) is an idiopathic sight-threatening, presumed autoimmune disease, accountable for ~ 10% of all blindness in the developed world. We have investigated the association of uveitis with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) using a mouse model of spontaneous experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU). Mice expressing the transgene (Tg) hen egg lysozyme (HEL) in the retina crossed with 3A9 mice expressing a transgenic HEL-specific TCR spontaneously develop uveoretinitis at post-partum day (P)20/21. Double transgenic (dTg TCR/HEL) mice also spontaneously develop clinical signs of colitis at ~ P30 with diarrhoea, bowel shortening, oedema and lamina propria (LP) inflammatory cell infiltration. Single (s)Tg TCR (3A9) mice also show increased histological LP cell infiltration but no bowel shortening and diarrhoea. dTg TCR/HEL mice are profoundly lymphopenic at weaning. In addition, dTg TCR/HEL mice contain myeloid cells which express MHC Class II-HEL peptide complexes (MHCII-HEL), not only in the inflamed retina but also in the colon and have the potential for antigen presentation. In this model the lymphopenia and reduction in the absolute Treg numbers in dTg TCR/HEL mice is sufficient to initiate eye disease. We suggest that cell-associated antigen released from the inflamed eye can activate colonic HEL-specific T cells which, in a microbial micro-environment, not only cause colitis but feedback to amplify IOI.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1256
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2023


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