The distribution of immune cells in the uveal tract of the normal eye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


Inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases of the eye are not purely the consequence of infiltrating inflammatory cells but may be initiated or propagated by immune cells which are resident or trafficking through the normal eye. The uveal tract in particular is the major site of many such cells, including resident tissue macrophages, dendritic cells and mast cells. This review considers the distribution and location of these and other cells in the iris, ciliary body and chorcoid in the normal eye. The uveal tract contains rich networks of both resident macrophages and MHC class II+ dendritic cells. The latter appear strategically located to act as sentinels for capturing and sampling blood-borne and intraocular antigens. Large numbers of mast cells are present in the choroid of most species but are virtually absent from the anterior uvea in many laboratory animals; however, the human iris does contain mast cells. Small numbers of what are presumed to be trafficking lymphocytes are present in the uveal tract of normal eyes. There is little data available on the presence or absence of eosinophils. The role of these various cell types in immune homeostasis and ocular inflammation is briefly considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-193
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Choroid
  • Ciliary body
  • Dendritic cell
  • Eosinophil
  • Iris
  • Lymphocyte
  • Macrophage
  • Mast cell

Cite this