Current Ophthalmology Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 266–274 | Cite as

Regulatory T Cell Modulation of Cytokine and Cellular Networks in Corneal Graft Rejection

  • Maryam Tahvildari
  • Takenori Inomata
  • Afsaneh Amouzegar
  • Reza DanaEmail author
Cornea (P Hamrah and T Yamaguchi, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Cornea


Purpose of Review

Corneal allografts placed in vascularized or inflamed host beds are at increased risk of graft rejection due to the preponderance of activated immune cells in the host bed. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are master regulators of the adaptive immune response and play a key role in the induction of immune tolerance. The aim of this review is to discuss mechanisms through which Tregs mediate tolerance in corneal transplantation and the novel therapeutic approaches that target Tregs to promote transplant survival.

Recent Findings

The inflammatory environment of high-risk allografts not only promotes activation of effector T cells and their infiltration to graft site, but also impairs Treg immunomodulatory function. Recent studies have shown that expansion of Tregs and enhancing their modulatory function significantly improve graft survival.


As our understanding of the cellular and molecular pathways in corneal transplantation has deepened, novel therapeutic strategies have been developed to improve allograft survival. In this review, we discuss therapeutic approaches that focus on Tregs to promote corneal allograft survival.


Corneal transplantation Immune tolerance Regulatory T cells Antigen-presenting cells Plasticity of regulatory T cells Alloantigen-specific graft acceptance Graft rejection 


Funding Information

This work was supported by National Institutes of Health/National Eye Institute Grant R01 EY012963.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Maryam Tahvildari, Takenori Inomata, Afsaneh Amouzegar, and Reza Dana declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

Financial Disclosure

The authors have no financial conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maryam Tahvildari
    • 1
    • 2
  • Takenori Inomata
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Afsaneh Amouzegar
    • 1
  • Reza Dana
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Department of Ophthalmology,Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Ophthalmology, Kresge Eye InstituteWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  3. 3.Faculty of Medicine, Department of OphthalmologyJuntendo UniversityTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Faculty of Medicine, Department of Strategic Operative Room, Management and ImprovementJuntendo UniversityTokyoJapan

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