Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) is a condition commonly seen in the ophthalmologist’s office. The mechanism underlying the majority of cases of blepharitis remains elusive. Although there are several experimental inflammatory diseases of the lids, none displays all the clinical features of the most common forms of blepharitis.
We have demonstrated a model for experimental blepharitis in mice with experimental systemic lupus erythematosus.(Chan et al. Journal of Immunology 1995; 154: 4830-4835). In this model, the mouse are immunized with a human monoclonal anti-DNA antibody, bearing a major Id 16/6ID. Immunized mice initially produce antibodies to 16/6Id, DNA and nuclear antigens, and subsequently develop various clinical manifestations including leukopenia and renal immune complex disease. MHC class I antigens play a crucial role in the induction and progression of experimental lupus disease. The ocular pathology is characterized by bilateral subacute and chronic inflammation of the eyelids with immune complex IgG deposition and hypertrophic meibomian glands. The severity of ocular changes is strain dependent. MHC class I is critical in the onset of this experimental autoimmune blepharitis and may relate to its function in peptide presentation.