British Journal of Ophthalmology vol:73 issue:4 pages:276-82
Upper palpebral conjunctival biopsy specimens obtained from eight patients with active trachoma were examined by routine histological and immunohistochemical methods. The epithelium expressed class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) products throughout and class II MHC products in the superficial layers. The epithelial inflammatory infiltrate consisted of polymorphonuclear leucocytes, macrophages, T lymphocytes, and dendritic cells. In the underlying stroma the inflammatory infiltrate was organised as B lymphoid follicles, and there was also a diffuse infiltrate consisting of plasma cells and scattered B lymphoid cells, dendritic cells, T cells, macrophages, and polymorphonuclear leucocytes. Each type of cell has its special location in the tissue. Plasma cells were located on a subepithelial band and as a dense infiltrate round the acini of accessory lacrimal glands. IgA+ plasma cells outnumbered IgG+ cells, whereas IgM+ and IgE+ cells were few. Our data provide good evidence for the presence of both humoral and cell mediated immune responses and a possible role for autoimmune mechanisms in the conjunctival tissues of trachoma patients.