Immunobiology of Corneal Allografts

Corneal Transplants


Corneal allografting is the most common form of solid tissue transplantation. In the U.S. alone, more than 40,000 corneal transplants are performed annually. Immune rejection remains the leading cause of corneal allograft failure.

Ongoing Studies

  • How do atopic diseases (e.g., allergic conjunctivitis and asthma) increase the risk of immune rejection of corneal allografts?
  • How do regulatory T cells (Tregs) promote corneal allograft survival?
  • Can we restore immune privilege of corneal allografts in “high risk” hosts?
  • What is the role of neuropeptides and corneal innervation in maintaining immune privilege of corneal allografts? 

Animal Models and Research Tools

  • Our lab has used mouse models of penetrating keratoplasty for over 25 years
  • Mouse model of allergic conjunctivitis
  • Allergic asthma (airway hyper-reactivity) and confirmation by whole-body plethysmography
  • Reconstitution of T cell-deficient NOD/SCID mice with selected T cell populations
  • Immunological assays include: ELISA, DTH; annexin-V and caspase-3 apoptosis assays; CTL and NK cytolysis assays
  • Our tissue/monoclonal antibody core facility maintains 10-12 hybridomas that secrete various monoclonal antibodies for various murine T cell subsets and cytokines
  • Immunohistochemistry and conventional H&E histopathology