Experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU) is an organ-specific, T lymphocyte-mediated autoimmune disease, which serves as a model for several human ocular inflammations of an apparently autoimmune nature. EAU pathology in some rodents and in monkeys can readily be induced by immunization with several different retinal proteins; however, advancing research into the cellular mechanisms of this disease has raised the need for an EAU model in an immunologically and genetically well defined species. We report here the induction of EAU in the mouse, which has hitherto been considered a species refractory to EAU, with two retinal Ag, the retinal soluble Ag and the interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein. Although all the mouse strains tested exhibited lymphocyte responses and antibody titers to both retinal Ag, EAU was inducible in only some of the strains, and the uveitogenic responses to retinal soluble Ag and interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein appeared to be mutually exclusive. The EAU model in mice was found to differ in several respects from the EAU model in other rodent species. Induction of the disease was achieved with a relatively high dose of Ag and an intensified immunization protocol, and the onset of disease was later, the duration was longer, and the course was less acute. Anterior segment involvement was slight or nonexistent, and damage to the retina and uvea was of a focal rather than of a diffuse nature. Murine EAU appeared to approximate some types of human uveitis more closely than the EAU models described in other rodent species with respect to its pathologic manifestations as well as its more chronic course. The relatively longer duration of the active stage of disease in murine EAU should facilitate therapeutic intervention in established disease, which was not feasible in the more acute models of EAU. The extensive knowledge of the immunologic parameters of the mouse and the availability of genetically defined strains should be of great value in the study of cellular mechanisms and immunogenetics of ocular autoimmune disease.

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