A large part of our research effort has been to characterize the immunosuppressive and immunoregulating factors within the immune privileged eye. Through immunochemical and biological analysis of aqueous humor, the fluid filling the anterior chamber of the eye, and the soluble factors produced by retinal pigment epithelial cells. We have identified several potent immunoregulating and immunosuppressing neuropeptides that:
1. Suppress macrophage-mediated inflammation.
2. Induce activation of myeloid suppressor cells
3. Alter phagocytic pathways within potential Antigen Presenting Cells.
4. Suppress the activation of effector T cells
5. Mediate the induction of antigen-specific regulatory T cells.
Our research has found constitutively present neuropeptides in the immune-privileged eye, alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (a-MSH), vasoactive intestinal peptide, calcitonin gene related peptide, and somatostatin. Collectively, the neuropeptides in aqueous humor suppress activation of delayed-type hypersensitivity of adaptive immunity and endotoxin activation of macrophages in innate immunity. Individually, the neuropeptides target different cells at different stages in the induction of immune responses within the immune-privileged eye.
We are finding that the activation of macrophages to pathogens within the ocular microenvironment does not promote inflammation but promotes suppressor functionality in the macrophages. These macrophages respond to pathogens without mediating inflammation or activating T cells. Moreover, the macrophages produce anti-inflammatory cytokines, suppress activation of effector T cells while promoting Treg cell activity.
As we continue to examine the mechanisms of ocular immune privilege, we further promote the importance of the interactions between the nervous and the immune systems and how we can use these interactions therapeutically to manipulate immunity to suppress autoimmune disease.
- Professor, Ophthalmology, Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
- Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students), Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences
- Ohio State University, PhD
- Ohio State University, MS
- University of Wisconsin Madison, BS
- Published on 5/31/2023
Rinne P, Taylor AW, Montero-Melendez T. Editorial: Melanocortins and melanocortin receptors in the regulation of inflammation: mechanisms and novel therapeutic strategies. Front Immunol. 2023; 14:1226886. PMID: 37325641.
- Published on 4/8/2023
Ng TF, Taylor AW. Stimulating the Melanocortin System in Uveitis and Diabetes Preserves the Structure and Anti-Inflammatory Activity of the Retina. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Apr 08; 24(8). PMID: 37108092.
- Published on 4/14/2022
Goit RK, Taylor AW, Lo ACY. The central melanocortin system as a treatment target for obesity and diabetes: A brief overview. Eur J Pharmacol. 2022 Jun 05; 924:174956. PMID: 35430211.
- Published on 2/25/2022
Goit RK, Taylor AW, Lo ACY. Anti-inflammatory a-Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone Protects Retina After Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury in Type I Diabetes. Front Neurosci. 2022; 16:799739. PMID: 35281489.
- Published on 2/20/2022
Ng TF, Dawit K, Taylor AW. Melanocortin receptor agonists suppress experimental autoimmune uveitis. Exp Eye Res. 2022 May; 218:108986. PMID: 35196505.
- Published on 11/11/2021
Lužnik Marzidovšek Z, Blanco T, Sun Z, Alemi H, Ortiz G, Nakagawa H, Chauhan SK, Taylor AW, Jurkunas UV, Yin J, Dana R. The Neuropeptide Alpha-Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone Is Critical for Corneal Endothelial Cell Protection and Graft Survival after Transplantation. Am J Pathol. 2022 02; 192(2):270-280. PMID: 34774519.
- Published on 9/29/2021
Goit RK, Ng TC, Tam KC, Tsang JKW, Taylor AW, Lo ACY. Neuropeptide a-Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone Promotes Neurological Recovery and Repairs Cerebral Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury in Type 1 Diabetes. Neurochem Res. 2022 Feb; 47(2):394-408. PMID: 34586586.
- Published on 9/1/2021
Lee DJ, Xu H, Taylor AW. Editorial: Retinal Immunobiology and Retinopathy. Front Immunol. 2021; 12:758375. PMID: 34539681.
- Published on 8/13/2021
Taylor AW, Hsu S, Ng TF. The Role of Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells in Regulation of Macrophages/Microglial Cells in Retinal Immunobiology. Front Immunol. 2021; 12:724601. PMID: 34484232.
- Published on 8/4/2021
Taylor AW. Tailoring immune cell behavior to stop autoimmune disease. EBioMedicine. 2021 08; 70:103516. PMID: 34364167.
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