The maintenance of lymphatic vessels in the cornea is dependent on the presence of macrophages.

Kazuichi Maruyama, Toru Nakazawa, Claus Cursiefen, Yuko Maruyama, Nico Van Rooijen, Patricia A. D'Amore, Shigeru Kinoshita

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53 Citations (Scopus)


It has been shown previously that the presence in the cornea of antigen-presenting cells (APC), such as macrophages (MPS) and lymphangiogenesis, is a risk for corneal transplantation. We sought to determine whether the existence of lymphatic vessels in the non-inflamed cornea is associated with the presence of MPS. Flat mounts were prepared from corneas of untreated C57BL/6, CD11b(-/-), F4/80(-/-), and BALB/c mice, and after suture placement or corneal transplantation, observed by immunofluorescence for the presence of lymphatic vessels using LYVE-1 as a marker of lymphatic endothelium. Innate immune cells were detected in normal mouse corneas using CD11b, F4/80, CD40, as well as MHC-class II. Digital images of the flat mounts were taken using a spot image analysis system, and the area covered by lymphatic vessels was measured using NIH Image software. The number of spontaneous lymphatic vessels in C57BL/6 corneas was significantly greater than in BALB/c corneas (P = 0.03). There were more CD11b(+) (P < 0.01) and CD40(+), MHC-class II (+) cells in the C57BL/6 corneas than in BALB/c mouse corneas. MPS depletion via clodronate liposome in C57BL/6 mice led to fewer spontaneous lymphatic vessels and reduced inflammation-induced lymphangiogenesis relative to control mice. Mice deficient in CD11b or F4/80 had fewer spontaneous lymphatic vessels and less lymphangiogenesis than control C57BL/6 mice. C57BL/6 mouse corneas have more endogenous CD11b(+) cells and lymphatic vessels. The endogenous lymphatic vessels, along with pro-inflammatory MPS, account for the high risk of corneal graft rejection in C57BL/6 mice. CD11b(+) and F4/80(+) MPS appear to have an important role in of the formation of new lymphatic vessels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3145-3153
Number of pages9
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012 May


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