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Cameron K. Postnikoff, Kelly K. Nichols; Neutrophil and T-Cell Homeostasis in the Closed Eye. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(14):6212-6220. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-22449.
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This study sought to examine the changes and phenotype of the tear neutrophil and T-cell populations between early eyelid closure and after a full night of sleep.
Fourteen healthy participants were recruited and trained to wash the ocular surface with PBS for at-home self-collection of ocular surface and tear leukocytes following up to 1 hour of sleep and a full night of sleep (average 7 hours), on separate days. Cells were isolated, counted, and incubated with fluorescently labeled antibodies to identify neutrophils, monocytes, and T cells. For neutrophil analysis, samples were stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or calcium ionophore (CaI) before antibody incubation. Flow cytometry was performed.
Following up to 1 hour of sleep, numerous leukocytes were collected (2.6 × 105 ± 3.0 × 105 cells), although significantly (P < 0.005) more accumulated with 7 hours of sleep (9.9 × 105 ± 1.2× 106 cells). Neutrophils (65%), T cells (3%), and monocytes (1%) were identified as part of the closed eye leukocyte infiltration following 7 hours of sleep. Th17 cells represented 22% of the total CD4+ population at the 7-hour time point. Neutrophil phenotype changed with increasing sleep, with a downregulation of membrane receptors CD16, CD11b, CD14, and CD15, indicating a loss in the phagocytic capability of neutrophils.
Neutrophils begin accumulating in the closed eye conjunctival sac much earlier than previously demonstrated. The closed eye tears are also populated with T cells, including a subset of Th17 cells. The closed eye environment is more inflammatory than previously thought and is relevant to understanding ocular homeostasis.
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