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Driss Zoukhri, Amanda Fix, Joseph Alroy, Claire L. Kublin; Mechanisms of Murine Lacrimal Gland Repair after Experimentally Induced Inflammation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(10):4399-4406. doi: 10.1167/iovs.08-1730.
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purpose. The authors recently reported that a severe inflammatory response resulting in substantial loss of acinar cells was induced by a single injection of interleukin-1α into the lacrimal gland and that this effect was reversible. The purpose of the present study was to determine the mechanisms involved in lacrimal gland injury and repair.
methods. Inflammation was induced by direct injection of recombinant human interleukin-1α (IL-1α, 1 μg in 2 μL) into the exorbital lacrimal glands of anesthetized female BALB/c mice. Animals were killed 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 days after injection. Exorbital lacrimal glands were then removed and processed for measurement of protein secretion, histology, immunohistochemistry, and Western blotting.
results. The results show that lacrimal gland acinar cells are lost through programmed cell death (apoptosis) and autophagy. They also show that the number of nestin (a stem cell marker)–positive cells increased 2 to 3 days after injury and that some of these cells were also positive for Ki67 (a cell proliferation marker) and α-smooth muscle actin (a marker of myoepithelial cells). Finally, they show that the amount of phosphorylated Smad1/5/8 (effector molecules of bone morphogenetic protein 7 [BMP7]) increased 2 to 3 days after injury and could also be detected in nestin-positive cells.
conclusions. The lacrimal gland contains stem/progenitor cells capable of tissue repair after injury. Programmed cell death after injury triggers proliferation and differentiation of these cells, presumably through activation of the BMP7 pathway.
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