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Yirui Zhu, Ling Li, Peter S. Reinach, Yun Li, Chaoxiang Ge, Jia Qu, Wei Chen; Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking With Riboflavin and UVA Regulates Hemangiogenesis and Lymphangiogenesis in Rats. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(8):3702-3712. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-23036.
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether corneal collagen crosslinking (CXL) inhibits hemangiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis during acute corneal inflammation in an in vivo rat model.
Inflammatory corneal neovascularization was induced by suture placement into a rat cornea. At day 3 after suture, a CXL protocol using riboflavin and UVA was administered after mechanical epithelial debridement. Hemangiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis were analyzed morphometrically. CD45 and CD68 immunostaining evaluated corneal leucocyte and macrophage immune cell infiltration, respectively. A TUNEL assay detected stromal cell apoptosis. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis identified angiogenic and lymphangiogenic genes as well as proinflammatory cytokine expression. Western blot analysis characterized vascular endothelial cell CD31 and lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor (LYVE-1) protein expression.
CXL treatment significantly reduced corneal pathologic suture-induced hemangiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis 7 days after suture emplacement, but this procedure failed to affect hemangiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis 14 days after suture. Increased cell apoptosis and reduced CD45+ and CD68+ cell infiltration were evident in CXL-treated rats on days 7 and 14 after suture emplacement. CXL treatment significantly decreased angiogenic and lymphangiogenic mRNA expression levels and both CD31 and LYVE-1 protein expression levels, whereas it increased proinflammatory cytokine levels on day 7 after suture emplacement. However, on day 14 after corneal neovascularization, angiogenic and lymphangiogenic mRNA gene expression levels were upregulated along with hematic CD31 and lymphatic LYVE-1 protein expression.
CXL treatment only temporarily inhibits corneal inflammatory-associated hemangiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in vivo. Such insight suggests that future studies are warranted to develop novel CXL strategies with longer-lasting effectiveness in attenuating hemantic- and lymphatic-related corneal diseases.
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