Project description:Corneal injuries remain a major cause of consultation in the ophthalmology clinics worldwide. Repair of corneal wounds is a complex mechanism that involves cell death, migration, proliferation, differentiation, and extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling. In the present study, we used a tissue-engineered, two-layers (epithelium and stroma) human cornea as a biomaterial to study both the cellular and molecular mechanisms of wound healing. Gene profiling on microarrays revealed important alterations in the pattern of genes expressed by tissue-engineered corneas in response to wound healing. Expression of many MMPs-encoding genes was shown by microarray and qPCR analyses to increase in the migrating epithelium of wounded corneas. Many of these enzymes were converted into their enzymatically active form as wound closure proceeded. In addition, expression of MMPs by human corneal epithelial cells (HCECs) was affected both by the stromal fibroblasts and the collagen-enriched ECM they produce. Most of all, results from mass spectrometry analyses provided evidence that a fully stratified epithelium is required for proper synthesis and organization of the ECM on which the epithelial cells adhere. In conclusion, and because of the many characteristics it shares with the native cornea, this human two layers corneal substitute may prove particularly useful to decipher the mechanistic details of corneal wound healing. Primary cultures of human corneal epithelial cells cultivated on BSA (number of replicates: 7), Collagen type I (number of replicates: 2), Collagen type IV (number of replicates: 2), Fibronectin (number of replicates: 2), Tenascin C (number of replicates: 2) and Laminin (number of replicates: 2) matrix. Central, internal and external ring of wounded Tissue-engineered human cornea.
Project description:The cornea is a transparent organ, highly specialized and unique that is continually subjected to abrasive forces and occasional mechanical or chemical trauma because of its anatomical localization. Upon injury, the extracellular matrix (ECM) rapidly changes to promote wound healing through integrin-dependent activation of specific signal transduction mediators whose contribution is to favor faster closure of the wound by altering the adhesive and migratory properties of the cells surrounding the damaged area. In this study, we exploited the human tissue-engineered cornea (hTECs) as a model to study the signal transduction pathways that participate to corneal wound healing. By exploiting both gene profiling and activated kinases arrays, we could demonstrate the occurrence of important alterations in the level of expression and activation of a few mediators from the PI3K/Akt and CREB pathways in response to the ECM remodeling taking place during wound healing of damaged hTECs. Pharmacological inhibition of CREB with C646 considerably accelerated wound closure compared to controls. This process was considerably accelerated further when both C646 and SC79, an Akt agonist, were added together to wounded hTECs. Therefore, our study demonstrate that proper corneal wound healing requires the activation of Akt together with the inhibition of CREB and that wound healing in vitro can be altered by the use of pharmacological inhibitors (such as C646) or agonists (such as SC79) of these mediators. Overall design: Comparison of biopsies taken from the central (wound) and external (control) sections of human tissue-engineered corneas made with 3 population of human epithelial cells (epi44, epi52 and epi71b).
Project description:Neprilysin (NEP), an ectoenzyme that modulates inflammation by degrading neuropeptides, was recently identified in the human corneal epithelium. The cornea expresses many NEP substrates, but the function of NEP in homeostatic maintenance and wound healing of the cornea is unknown. We therefore investigated the role of this enzyme under naive and injured conditions using NEP-deficient (NEP-/-) and wild type (WT) control mice. In vivo ocular surface imaging and histological analysis of corneal tissue showed no differences in limbal vasculature or corneal anatomy between naive NEP-/- and WT mice. Histological examination revealed increased corneal innervation in NEP-/- mice. In an alkali burn model of corneal injury, corneal wound healing was significantly accelerated in NEP-/- mice compared to WT controls 3 days after injury. Daily intraperitoneal administration of the NEP inhibitor thiorphan also accelerated corneal wound healing after alkali injury in WT mice. Collectively, our data identify a previously unknown role of NEP in the cornea, in which pharmacologic inhibition of its activity may provide a novel therapeutic option for patients with corneal injury.
Project description:Wound healing is characterized by cell and extracellular matrix changes mediating cell migration, fibrosis, remodeling and regeneration. We previously demonstrated that chick fetal wound healing shows a regenerative phenotype regarding the cellular and molecular organization of the cornea. However, the chick corneal stromal structure is remarkably complex in the collagen fiber/lamellar organization, involving branching and anastomosing of collagen bundles. It is unknown whether the chick fetal wound healing is capable of recapitulating this developmentally regulated organization pattern. The purpose of this study was to examine the three-dimensional collagen architecture of wounded embryonic corneas, whilst identifying temporal and spatial changes in collagen organization during wound healing. Linear corneal wounds that traversed the epithelial layer, Bowman´s layer, and anterior stroma were generated in chick corneas on embryonic day 7. Irregular thin collagen fibers are present in the wounded cornea during the early phases of wound healing. As wound healing progresses, the collagen organization dramatically changes, acquiring an orthogonal arrangement. Fourier transform analysis affirmed this observation and revealed that adjacent collagen lamellae display an angular displacement progressing from the epithelium layer towards the endothelium. These data indicate that the collagen organization of the wounded embryonic cornea recapitulate the native macrostructure.
Project description:With the immunoregulation potential, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been used for tissue regeneration by relieving inflammation in the injured tissues. When this repair process is interfered by immune disorders or pathological angiogenesis, the delays in corneal epithelial wound healing can lead to a persistent epithelial defect. Stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs), which carry abundant bioactive molecules from stem cells, have provided an alternative to regeneration therapy. In this study, we aimed to investigate if EVs from human placenta-derived MSCs (hP-MSCs) could ameliorate alkali injury of the cornea in the mouse model. 33.33??g/?L EVs in 10??L PBS were applied to the cornea. Repeat application three times, and 100??g EVs (in 30??L PBS) in total were administrated per day for two weeks. Our results revealed that EVs from hP-MSCs had preferable functions including enhancing proliferation and anti-inflammation and suppressing apoptosis of corneal epithelial cells. Furthermore, hP-MSC-derived EVs ameliorated mouse corneal wound healing by inhibiting angiogenesis and inflammation. Taken together, our current data suggested that hP-MSC-derived EVs have the beneficial effects of corneal wound healing, which provide alternative cell-free therapy with great practical value.
Project description:Corneal transparency, dependent on the integrity of epithelial cells, is essential for vision. Corneal epithelial damage is one of the most commonly observed ocular conditions and proper wound healing is necessary for corneal transparency. Sirt6, a histone deacetylase, has been shown to regulate many cellular events including aging and inflammation. However, its specific role in corneal epithelial wound healing remains unknown. Here we demonstrated that Sirt6 was expressed in corneal epithelial cells and its expression decreased with age. In an <i>in vivo</i> corneal epithelial wound healing model, Sirt6 deficiency resulted in delayed and incomplete wound healing and was associated excessive inflammation in the corneal stroma and dysfunction of Notch signaling, leading to keratinization of the corneal epithelium and corneal opacity. Aging Sirt6-deficient mice spontaneously developed corneal keratitis with extensive infiltration of inflammatory cells into the cornea. <i>In vitro</i> experiments demonstrated that primary corneal epithelial cells with Sirt6 downregulation expressed increased basal levels of inflammatory genes and exhibited hyper-inflammatory reactivity to IL-1? and TNF? treatment. These results provide compelling evidence that Sirt6 is a critical regulator of inflammation in the cornea, and is responsible for corneal epithelial wound healing, thus contributing to the maintenance of epithelial integrity and corneal transparency.
Project description:To assess keratocyte backscattering, alignment, morphology, and connectivity in vivo following a full-thickness corneal injury using the Heidelberg Retina Tomograph Rostock Cornea Module (HRT-RCM), and to correlate these findings with en bloc three-dimensional (3-D) confocal fluorescence and second harmonic generation (SHG) imaging.Rabbit corneas were scanned in vivo both before and 3, 7, 14, and 28 days after transcorneal freeze injury (FI), which damages all corneal cell layers. Corneal tissue was also fixed and labeled for f-actin and nuclei en bloc, and imaged using 3-D confocal fluorescence microscopy and SHG imaging.Using the modified HRT-RCM, full-thickness scans of all cell layers were consistently obtained. Following FI, stromal cells repopulating the damaged tissue assumed an elongated fibroblastic morphology, and a significant increase in cellular light scattering was measured. This stromal haze gradually decreased as wound healing progressed. Parallel, interconnected streams of aligned corneal fibroblasts were observed both in vivo (from HRT-RCM reflection images) and ex vivo (from f-actin and nuclear labeling) during wound healing, particularly in the posterior cornea. Second harmonic generation imaging demonstrated that these cells were aligned parallel to the collagen lamellae.The modified HRT-RCM allows in vivo measurements of sublayer thickness, assessment of cell morphology, alignment and connectivity, and estimation of stromal backscatter during wound healing. In this study, these in vivo observations led to the novel finding that the pattern of corneal fibroblast alignment is highly correlated with lamellar organization, suggesting contact guidance of intrastromal migration that may facilitate more rapid wound repopulation.
Project description:CB2R receptors have demonstrated beneficial effects in wound healing in several models. We therefore investigated a potential role of CB2R receptors in corneal wound healing. We examined the functional contribution of CB2R receptors to the course of wound closure in an in vivo murine model. We additionally examined corneal expression of CB2R receptors in mouse and the consequences of their activation on cellular signaling, migration and proliferation in cultured bovine corneal epithelial cells (CECs). Using a novel mouse model, we provide evidence that corneal injury increases CB2R receptor expression in cornea. The CB2R agonist JWH133 induces chemorepulsion in cultured bovine CECs but does not alter CEC proliferation. The signaling profile of CB2R activation is activating MAPK and increasing cAMP accumulation, the latter perhaps due to Gs-coupling. Lipidomic analysis in bovine cornea shows a rise in acylethanolamines including the endocannabinoid anandamide 1?h after injury. In vivo, CB2R deletion and pharmacological block result in a delayed course of wound closure. In summary, we find evidence that CB2R receptor promoter activity is increased by corneal injury and that these receptors are required for the normal course of wound closure, possibly via chemorepulsion.
Project description:Inflammation and angiogenesis are integral parts of wound healing. However, excessive and persistent wound-induced inflammation and angiogenesis in an avascular tissue such as the cornea may be associated with scarring and visual impairment. Junctional adhesion molecule A (Jam-A) is a tight junction protein that regulates leukocyte transmigration as well as fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2)-induced angiogenesis. However its function in wound-induced inflammation and angiogenesis is still unknown. In this study, we report spontaneous corneal opacity in Jam-A deficient mice associated with inflammation, angiogenesis and the presence of myofibroblasts. Since wounds and/or corneal infections cause corneal opacities, we tested the role of Jam-A in wound-induced inflammation, angiogenesis and scarring by subjecting Jam-A deficient mice to full thickness corneal wounding. Analysis of these wounds demonstrated increased inflammation, angiogenesis, and increased number of myofibroblasts thereby indicating that Jam-A regulates the wound-healing response by controlling wound-induced inflammation, angiogenesis and scarring in the cornea. These effects were not due to inflammation alone since the inflammation-induced wound-healing response in Jam-A deficient mice was similar to wild type mice. In order to determine the molecular mechanism associated with the observed aberrant corneal wound healing in Jam-A deficient mice, we assessed the expression of the components of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A)/vascular endothelial growth factor receptor- 2(VEGFR-2) signaling pathway. Interestingly, we observed increased levels of VEGF-A mRNA in Jam-A deficient eyes. We also observed nuclear localization of phosphorylated SMAD3 (pSMAD3) indicative of TGF? pathway activation in the Jam-A deficient eyes. Furthermore the increased wound-induced corneal inflammation, angiogenesis, and scarring in Jam-A deficient mice was attenuated by treatment with DC101, an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) antibody. Our results suggest that in the absence of Jam-A, the VEGF-A/VEGFR-2 pathway is upregulated, thereby augmenting wound induced corneal inflammation, angiogenesis, and myofibroblast accumulation leading to scarring.
Project description:Vision impairment from corneal fibrosis is a common consequence of irregular corneal wound healing after injury. Intermediate-conductance calmodulin/calcium-activated K+ channels 3.1 (KCa3.1) play an important role in cell cycle progression and cellular proliferation. Proliferation and differentiation of corneal fibroblasts to myofibroblasts can lead to corneal fibrosis after injury. KCa3.1 has been shown in many non-ocular tissues to promote fibrosis, but its role in corneal fibrosis is still unknown. In this study, we characterized the expression KCa3.1 in the human cornea and its role in corneal wound healing in vivo using a KCa3.1 knockout (KCa3.1-/-) mouse model. Additionally, we tested the hypothesis that blockade of KCa3.1 by a selective KCa3.1 inhibitor, TRAM-34, could augment a novel interventional approach for controlling corneal fibrosis in our established in vitro model of corneal fibrosis. The expression of KCa3.1 gene and protein was analyzed in human and murine corneas. Primary human corneal fibroblast (HCF) cultures were used to examine the potential of TRAM-34 in treating corneal fibrosis by measuring levels of pro-fibrotic genes, proteins, and cellular migration using real-time quantitative qPCR, Western blotting, and scratch assay, respectively. Cytotoxicity of TRAM-34 was tested with trypan blue assay, and pro-fibrotic marker expression was tested in KCa3.1-/-. Expression of KCa3.1 mRNA and protein was detected in all three layers of the human cornea. The KCa3.1-/- mice demonstrated significantly reduced corneal fibrosis and expression of pro-fibrotic marker genes such as collagen I and ?-smooth muscle actin (?-SMA), suggesting that KCa3.1 plays an important role corneal wound healing in vivo. Pharmacological treatment with TRAM-34 significantly attenuated corneal fibrosis in vitro, as demonstrated in HCFs by the inhibition TGF?-mediated transcription of pro-fibrotic collagen I mRNA and ?-SMA mRNA and protein expression (p<0.001). No evidence of cytotoxicity was observed. Our study suggests that KCa3.1 regulates corneal wound healing and that blockade of KCa3.1 by TRAM-34 offers a potential therapeutic strategy for developing therapies to cure corneal fibrosis in vivo.