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Uta Gehlsen, Sebastian Siebelmann, Michael E. Stern, Jerry Y. Niederkorn, Philipp Steven; Expression Of Adhesion Molecules During Development Of Conjunctiva-Associated Lymphoid Tissue. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):6181.
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Conjunctiva-associated lymphoid tissue (CALT) is frequently present as conjunctival follicles at the ocular surface of healthy individuals. In the presence of ocular surface inflammation follicles increase in size and number. Both development and antigen-related alteration of CALT implicate concerted cellular migration and spatial organization that are crucial for understanding the role of CALT in ocular surface immunology. This study was set up to investigate the expression of adhesion molecules during development of CALT in unchallenged mice.
Eyes from unstimulated Balb/c mice, kept under either specific pathogen-free (SPF) or standard animal housing conditions, were collected between postnatal day 10 (p10) and 18 months of age. Eyes were serial sectioned and screened for CALT. Antibodies against adhesion molecules ICAM-1, ICAM-2, VCAM-1 and MadCAM-1 were used and correlated to the time course of CALT development.
Under SPF conditions at p10 only ICAM-1 and ICAM-2 were expressed and no CALT was present. At 4-8 weeks all adhesion molecules were present and CALT expression increased to 35%. At 10 weeks VCAM-1 expression was lacking and CALT was present in up to 70% of the animals. At 20-24 weeks of age, CALT expression decreased to 60% accompanied with expression of ICAM-1, ICAM-2, MadCAM-1 and weak VCAM-1 labeling. In contrast animals 6-18months kept under standard non-SPF conditions expressed all adhesion molecules and expressed CALT in up to 85%.
Expression of adhesion molecules is related to time-course of CALT development and seems to be related in part to antigen presence. At p10 with closed eyelids and under SPF-conditions antigen challenge is limited and could explain lack of particular adhesion molecules. Under standard non-SPF housing conditions, existing antigens cause higher expression of CALT, depicted by enduring expression of all adhesion molecules tested and increasing numbers of CALT. Analyzing expression of adhesion molecules during ocular surface inflammation and additional blocking of adhesion molecules during CALT development is planned to understand the relation of cellular migration and function of CALT.
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