Purpose: While the normal cornea has limited innervation by the lymphatic system, chronic immune-inflammatory disorders such as dry eye (DE) can induce lymphangiogenesis in the ocular surface. Using a conditional knock-down murine model, Lyve-1Cre;VEGFR2flox mice, this study investigated the role of lymphangiogenesis in the pathophysiology of DE. Methods: DE was induced in both wild type (WT) B6 and Lyve-1Cre;VEGFR2flox mice. Tissue immunostaining and volumetric gross measurements were used to assess changes in the ocular surface, skin, and lymph nodes (LNs). The expression of lymphangiogenic factors (TNF-α, IL-6/-8/-12/-17, VEGF-C/-D, IFN-γ, VEGFR-2/-3, Lyve-1, and podoplanin) and the frequency of immune cells (CD4, CD11b, and CD207) on the ocular surface and lacrimal glands were quantified by real-time polymerase chain reaction and flow cytometry. Results: Compared to WT mice, there were fewer lymphatic vessels and a reduction in lymphangiogenic markers in the ocular surface and skin of Lyve-1Cre;VEGFR2flox mice. After DE induction, mRNA levels of TNF-α, IL-8, and IFN-γ were significantly reduced in Lyve-1Cre;VEGFR2flox mice compared to WT mice (p <.01). Surprisingly, the LNs from Lyve-1Cre;VEGFR2flox mice with DE were significantly smaller and populated by fewer dendritic cells and effector T cells than those from WT mice (p <.001). Furthermore, immunostaining showed corneal nerves in the DE-induced Lyve-1Cre;VEGFR2flox mice were notably intact like in the naïve condition. Conclusions: Inhibition of lymphangiogenesis in the cornea effectively attenuates not only the inflammatory response including trafficking of immune cells but also preserves corneal nerves under desiccating stress. Corneal lymphangiogenesis might be a contributing factor in deterioration on the ocular surface homeostasis.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - 2018 Jul|
- Dry eye
- Lymphatic vessel
ASJC Scopus subject areas