Lymphocytic subpopulations in the normal human conjunctiva. A monoclonal antibody study
Monoclonal antibodies were used to analyze the lymphocytic subpopulations in frozen tissue sections of normal human conjunctiva (epibulbar, tarsal, and forniceal). The overwhelming majority of lymphocytes were T-cells (Leu1+ and OKT8+). In the epithelium, the predominant cell type was the OKT8+ cytotoxic/suppressor cell, whereas in the substantia propria, helper T-cells (Leu3a/3b+) equalled suppressor T-cells. T-cells outnumbered B-cells 20-fold; the letter cells were detected only in the substantial propria, particularly in the fornices, and not in the epithelium. Plasma cells, as identified by OKT10 staining, were completely absent except in the accessory lacrimal glands of Krause. Langerhans' cells, identified by OKT6 and HLA-DR (la) staining, were observed in the epithelium of all conjunctival regions. Our findings suggest that the reactivity of B-lymphocytes and plasma cells is heavily damped down by T-lymphocytes, thus allying the conjunctiva to other mucosal membranes and the skin as heavily immunoregulated tissues.