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Ye Dai, Xiaokang Cheng, Jianfeng Yu, Xiaoqing Chen, Yichen Xiao, Fen Tang, Yingqi Li, Shangtao Wan, Wenru Su, Dan Liang; Hemin Promotes Corneal Allograft Survival Through the Suppression of Macrophage Recruitment and Activation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(10):3952-3962. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-23327.
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To explore the roles of hemin in preventing corneal allograft rejection (CGR) and the underlying mechanisms.
Hemin (30 mg/kg) was intraperitoneally injected into rats with a corneal allograft on alternate days, from the day of transplantation until euthanasia. The clinical signs of the corneal allografts were evaluated and recorded according to a previously published system. Corneal edema, macrophage infiltration, and phenotype, and the expression of chemokines, cytokines, and heme oxygenase (HO)-1 were detected by histology, real-time PCR, and Western blot. The rat macrophage cell line NR8383 was used to explore the mechanisms of action of hemin in vitro.
Treatment with hemin significantly prolonged corneal allograft survival, with decreased corneal edema and fewer macrophages. Moreover, hemin treatment alleviated inflammation in the corneal grafts, as characterized by downregulated mRNA levels of proinflammatory mediators. In addition, hemin administration reduced the proportion of proinflammatory M1 macrophages and increased the proportion of anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages in the corneal grafts. Hemin treatment induced HO-1 expression in vivo and in vitro, whereas co-administration of zinc protoporphyrin IX (ZnPP), an HO-1 inhibitor, blocked the beneficial effects of hemin in preventing CGR.
Our results are the first to demonstrate that hemin, a Food and Drug Administration–approved drug, promotes corneal allograft survival. These findings indicate that hemin might be a potential alternative treatment for CGR.
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