Cornea T-Cells Appear to Shield Eyes From Viral Infections


Long-living memory T-cells that guard and battle viral infections were found in the cornea, overturning the prevailing thought that T-cells are not present in healthy corneas, according to a recent study in Cell Reports.1
“Our findings will improve the understanding of how to protect our eyes from infections that cause permanent blindness, such as Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), noted lead study author Scott Mueller, according to a press release issued by the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, which is part of the University of Melbourne, in Australia and, in part, carried out the study.
Specifically, images from a multiphoton microscope of mice corneas showed long-living memory T cells made in the mice’s eyes to fight HSV. The cells stayed in the cornea post-virus to inhibit reinfection.
What’s more, advanced imaging of eyes in healthy people revealed immune cells guarding the cornea, according to the same press release.
Melbourne’s Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences and Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, and Monash University’s Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences were also involved with the study.
1. Loi JK, Alexandre YO, Senthil K et al Corneal tissue-resident memory T cells form a unique immune compartment at the ocular surface. Cell Reports, 2022; 39 (8): 110852