One major cause of human blindness is autoimmune uveitis, which is triggered by the activation of T cells, but exactly how and where the T cells become activated in the first place has been a long-standing mystery. Autoimmune uveitis, which accounts for up to 15% of severe visual handicap in the Western world, affects the working-age population and significantly affects public health. Patients often have detectable immune responses to unique retinal proteins involved in visual function, and these proteins can elicit the disease in animal models. However, these observations present a paradox; therefore, it has remained a mystery how and where the T cells become activated and cause the disease.
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