Microbial infections of the cornea frequently cause painful, blinding and debilitating disease that is often difficult to treat and may require corneal transplantation. In addition, sterile corneal infiltrates that are associated with contact lens wear cause pain, visual impairment and photophobia. In this article, we review the role of Toll-Like Receptors (TLR) in bacterial keratitis and sterile corneal infiltrates, and describe the role of MD-2 regulation in LPS responsiveness by corneal epithelial cells. We conclude that both live bacteria and bacterial products activate Toll-Like Receptors in the cornea, which leads to chemokine production and neutrophil recruitment to the corneal stroma. While neutrophils are essential for bacterial killing, they also cause tissue damage that results in loss of corneal clarity. These disparate outcomes, therefore, represent a spectrum of disease severity based on this pathway, and further indicate that targeting the TLR pathway is a feasible approach to treating inflammation caused by live bacteria and microbial products. Further, as the P. aeruginosa type III secretion system (T3SS) also plays a critical role in disease pathogenesis by inducing neutrophil apoptosis and facilitating bacterial growth in the cornea, T3SS exotoxins are additional targets for therapy for P. aeruginosa keratitis.
Microglial cells are the resident macrophages of the central nervous system and participate in both innate and adaptive immune responses but can also lead to exacerbation of neurodegenerative pathologies after viral infections. Microglia in the outer layers of the retina and the subretinal space are thought to be involved in retinal diseases where low-grade chronic inflammation and oxidative stress play a role. This study investigated the effect of systemic infection with murine cytomegalovirus on the distribution and dynamics of retinal microglia cells. Systemic infection with murine cytomegalovirus elicited a significant increase in the number of microglia in the subretinal space and an accumulation of iris macrophages, along with morphological signs of activation. Interferon ? (IFN-?)-deficient mice failed to induce changes in microglia distribution. Bone marrow chimera experiments confirmed that microglial cells in the subretinal space were not recruited from the circulating monocyte pool, but rather represented an accumulation of resident microglial cells from within the retina. Our results demonstrate that a systemic viral infection can lead to IFN-?-mediated accumulation of microglia into the outer retinal layers and offer proof of concept that systemic viral infections alter the ocular microenvironment and therefore, may influence the course of diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, or autoimmune uveitis, where low-grade inflammation is implicated.
Macrophages or activated microglia in the subretinal space are considered a hallmark of some retinal pathologies. We investigated the effects of age, pigmentation and CX(3)CR1 deficiency on the accumulation of macrophages/activated microglia in the outer retina of young and old Cx(3)cr1(gfp/gfp) (CX(3)CR1-deficient) or Cx(3)cr1(gfp/+) mice on either a pigmented (C57BL/6) or albino (BALB/c) background. Quantitative analysis of immunostained retinal-choroidal whole mounts revealed an increase in subretinal macrophage (SRM?) numbers in young Cx(3)cr1(gfp/gfp) mice compared with Cx(3)cr1(gfp/+) mice, however the increase was more marked in albino Cx(3)cr1(gfp/gfp) mice. In aged mice, large numbers of SRM?/activated microglia replete with autofluorescent debris were noted in both old pigmented Cx(3)cr1(gfp/gfp) and Cx(3)cr1(gfp/+) mice proving this accumulation was not CX(3)CR1-dependent. While CX(3)CR1 deficiency leads to an early onset of SRM? accumulation, our data reveal that this change occurs in both aged Cx(3)cr1(gfp/+) and Cx(3)cr1(gfp/gfp) pigmented mice in the absence of marked retinal degeneration and is likely a normal response to aging.
During bacterial and viral infections, unmethylated CpG-DNA released by proliferating and dying microbes is recognized by toll-like receptor (TLR) 9 in host cells, initiating innate immune responses. Many corneal infections occur secondary to epithelial breaches and represent a major cause of vision impairment and blindness globally. To mimic this clinical situation, we investigated mechanisms of TLR9 ligand-induced corneal inflammation in mice after epithelial debridement. Application of CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) resulted in neutrophil and macrophage infiltration to the cornea and loss of transparency. By 6 hours after CpG-ODN administration, TLR9 mRNA was increased in the cornea and retina. In vivo clinical examination at 24 hours revealed inflammatory infiltrates in the vitreous and retina, which were confirmed ex vivo to be neutrophils and macrophages, along with activated resident microglia. CpG-ODN-induced intraocular inflammation was abrogated in TLR9(-/-) and macrophage-depleted mice. Bone marrow reconstitution of irradiated TLR9(-/-) mice with TLR9(+/+) bone marrow led to restored corneal inflammatory responses to CpG-ODN. Fluorescein isothiocyanate-CpG-ODN rapidly penetrated the cornea and ocular media to reach the retina, where it was present within CD68(+) retinal macrophages and microglia. These data show that topically applied CpG-ODN induces intraocular inflammation owing to TLR9 activation of monocyte-lineage cells. These novel findings indicate that microbial CpG-DNA released during bacterial and/or viral keratitis can cause widespread inflammation within the eye, including the retina.
The mouse dura mater, pia mater, and choroid plexus contain resident macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs). These cells participate in immune surveillance, phagocytosis of cellular debris, uptake of antigens from the surrounding cerebrospinal fluid and immune regulation in many pathologic processes. We used Cx3cr1 knock-in, CD11c-eYFP transgenic and bone marrow chimeric mice to characterize the phenotype, density and replenishment rate of monocyte-derived cells in the meninges and choroid plexus and to assess the role of the chemokine receptor CX3CR1 on their number and tissue distribution. Iba-1 major histocompatibility complex (MHC) Class II CD169 CD68 macrophages and CD11c putative DCs were identified in meningeal and choroid plexus whole mounts. Comparison of homozygous and heterozygous Cx3cr1 mice did not reveal CX3CR1-dependancy on density, distribution or phenotype of monocyte-derived cells. In turnover studies, wild type lethally irradiated mice were reconstituted with Cx3cr1/-positive bone marrow and were analyzed at 3 days, 1, 2, 4 and 8 weeks after transplantation. There was a rapid replenishment of CX3CR1-positive cells in the dura mater (at 4 weeks) and the choroid plexus was fully reconstituted by 8 weeks. These data provide the foundation for future studies on the role of resident macrophages and DCs in conditions such as meningitis, autoimmune inflammatory disease and in therapies involving irradiation and hematopoietic or stem cell transplantation.
Macrophages in the olfactory neuroepithelium are thought to play major roles in tissue homeostasis and repair. However, little information is available at present about possible heterogeneity of these monocyte-derived cells, their turnover rates, and the role of chemokine receptors in this process. To start addressing these issues, this study used Cx?cr1(gfp) mice, in which the gene sequence for eGFP was knocked into the CX?CR1 gene locus in the mutant allele. Using neuroepithelial whole-mounts from Cx?cr1(gfp/+) mice, we show that eGFP(+) cells of monocytic origin are distributed in a loose network throughout this tissue and can be subdivided further into two immunophenotypically distinct subsets based on MHC-II glycoprotein expression. BM chimeric mice were created using Cx?cr1(gfp/+) donors to investigate turnover of macrophages (and other monocyte-derived cells) in the olfactory neuroepithelium. Our data indicate that the monocyte-derived cell population in the olfactory neuroepithelium is actively replenished by circulating monocytes and under the experimental conditions, completely turned over within 6 months. Transplantation of Cx?cr1(gfp/gfp) (i.e., CX?CR1-deficient) BM partially impaired the replenishment process and resulted in an overall decline of the total monocyte-derived cell number in the olfactory epithelium. Interestingly, replenishment of the CD68(low)MHC-II(+) subset appeared minimally affected by CX?CR1 deficiency. Taken together, the established baseline data about heterogeneity of monocyte-derived cells, their replenishment rates, and the role of CX?CR1 provide a solid basis to further examine the importance of different monocyte subsets for neuroregeneration at this unique frontier with the external environment.
To develop a technique by which murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection can be confirmed and monitored in vivo in various ocular compartments and to investigate the dynamics and time course of primary ocular CMV infection.
The mammalian cornea contains an extensive network of resident macrophages and dendritic cells. To determine the role of these cells in LPS-induced corneal inflammation, TLR4(-/-) mice were sublethally irradiated and reconstituted with bone marrow cells from either enhanced GFP (eGFP)(+)/C57BL/6 or eGFP(+)/TLR4(-/-) mice. The corneal epithelium was abraded, LPS was added topically, and cellular infiltration to the corneal stroma and development of corneal haze were examined after 24 h. TLR4(-/-) mice reconstituted with C57BL/6, but not TLR4(-/-) bone marrow cells donor cells were found to cause infiltration of eGFP(+) cells to the cornea, including neutrophils, and also increased corneal haze compared with saline-treated corneas. In a second experimental approach, corneas of transgenic macrophage Fas induced apoptosis (Mafia) mice were stimulated with LPS. These mice express eGFP and a suicide gene under control of the c-fms promoter, and systemic treatment with the FK506 dimerizer (AP20187) causes Fas-mediated apoptosis of monocytic cells. AP20187-treated mice had significantly fewer eGFP(+) cells in the cornea than untreated mice. After stimulation with LPS neutrophil recruitment and development of corneal haze were impaired in AP20187-treated mice compared with untreated controls. Furthermore, LPS induced CXCL1/KC and IL-1alpha production within 4 h in corneas of untreated Mafia mice, which is before cellular infiltration; however, cytokine production was impaired after AP20187 treatment. Together, results from both experimental approaches demonstrate an essential role for resident corneal monocytic lineage cells (macrophages and dendritic cells) in development of corneal inflammation.
Membrane nanotubes (MNTs) are newly discovered cellular extensions that are either blind-ended or can connect widely separated cells. They have predominantly been investigated in cultured isolated cells, however, previously we were the first group to demonstrate the existence of these structures in vivo in intact mammalian tissues. We previously demonstrated the frequency of both cell-cell or bridging MNTs and blind-ended MNTs was greatest between major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II(+) cells during corneal injury or TLR ligand-mediated inflammation. The present study aimed to further explore the dynamics of MNT formation and their size, presence in another tissue, the dura mater, and response to stress factors and an active local viral infection of the murine cornea. Confocal live cell imaging of myeloid-derived cells in inflamed corneal explants from Cx(3)cr1(GFP) and CD11c(eYFP) transgenic mice revealed that MNTs form de novo at a rate of 15.5??m/min. This observation contrasts with previous studies that demonstrated that in vitro these structures originate from cell-cell contacts. Conditions that promote formation of MNTs include inflammation in vivo and cell stress due to serum starvation ex vivo. Herpes simplex virus-1 infection did not cause a significant increase in MNT numbers in myeloid cells in the cornea above that observed in injury controls, confirming that corneal epithelium injury alone elicits MNT formation in vivo. These novel observations extend the currently limited understanding of MNTs in live mammalian tissues.
? The Kimba mouse carries a human vascular endothelial growth factor transgene causing retinal neovascularisation similar to that seen in diabetic retinopathy. Here, we examine the relationship between differential gene expression induced by vascular endothelial growth factor overexpression and the architectural changes that occur in the retinae of these mice.
The distribution, density, and phenotype of hyalocytes or vitreous macrophages in mouse eyes was examined during normal aging and in models of background diabetic retinopathy, retinal vascular proliferation, and exposure to TLR4 and TLR9 ligands.
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