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Srikant K. Sahu, Sharad K. Mittal, William Foulsham, Mingshun Li, Virender S. Sangwan, Sunil K. Chauhan; Mast Cells Initiate the Recruitment of Neutrophils Following Ocular Surface Injury. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(5):1732-1740. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-23398.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the contribution of mast cells to early neutrophil recruitment during ocular inflammation.
In a murine model of corneal injury, the epithelium and anterior stroma were removed using a handheld motor brush. Cromolyn sodium (2% in PBS) eye drops were administered topically for mast cell inhibition. In vitro, bone marrow–derived mast cells were cultured alone or with corneal tissue. The frequencies of CD45+ inflammatory cells, CD11b+Ly6G+ neutrophils, and ckit+FcεR1+ mast cells in the cornea were assessed by flow cytometry. mRNA expression of CXCL2 was evaluated by real-time PCR and protein expression by ELISA. β-Hexosaminidase assays were performed to gauge mast cell activation.
Neutrophil infiltration of the cornea was observed within 1 hour of injury, with neutrophil frequencies increasing over subsequent hours. Concurrent expansion of mast cell frequencies at the cornea were observed, with mast cell activation (assessed by β-hexosaminidase levels) peaking at 6 hours after injury. Evaluation of CXCL2 mRNA and protein expression levels demonstrated augmented expression by injured corneal tissue relative to naïve corneal tissue. Mast cells were observed to constitutively express CXCL2, with significantly higher expression of CXCL2 protein compared with naïve corneal tissue. Culture with harvested injured corneas further amplified CXCL2 expression by mast cells. In vivo, mast cell inhibition was observed to decrease CXCL2 expression, limit early neutrophil infiltration, and reduce inflammatory cytokine expression by the cornea.
Our data suggest that mast cell activation after corneal injury amplifies their secretion of CXCL2 and promotes the initiation of early neutrophil recruitment.
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