Autoimmune uveitis refers to several intraocular inflammation conditions, which are mediated by autoreactive T cells. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are immunosuppressive cells that have shown potential for resolving various autoimmune diseases, including uveitis. However, poor donor cell dispersion distal to the injection site and plasticity of Treg cells in an inflammatory microenvironment can present obstacles for this immunotherapy. We assessed the use of a physical blend of hyaluronan and methylcellulose (HAMC) as immunoprotective and injectable hydrogel cell delivery system to improve the efficacy of Treg-based therapy in treating experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU). We demonstrated that the Treg-HAMC blend increased both the survival and stability of Tregs under proinflammatory conditions. Furthermore, we found that the intravitreal HAMC delivery system resulted in a two-fold increase in the number of transferred Tregs in the inflamed eye of EAU mice. Treg-HAMC delivery effectively attenuated ocular inflammation and preserved the visual function of EAU mice. It significantly decreased the number of ocular infiltrates, including the uveitogenic IFN-γ+CD4+ and IL-17+CD4+ T cells. In contrast, intravitreal injection of Treg cells without HAMC only achieved marginal therapeutic effects in EAU. Our findings suggest that HAMC may become a promising delivery vehicle for human uveitis Treg therapy.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Materials Science(all)
- Biomedical Engineering
- Experimental autoimmune uveitis
- Intravitreal delivery
- Regulatory T cell