PURPOSE: We aimed to determine the role of CCR7+CD11b+ cell lymph node (LN) homing and T-cell differentiation in dry eye (DE)-induced immunopathogenesis and investigate the therapeutic effects of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and prostaglandin E2/eicosanoid-prostanoid (PGE2/EP) inhibitors against DE.
METHODS: Six-week-old female C57BL/6 mice were housed in a controlled-environment chamber and administered topical selective COX-2 inhibitors or EP2 antagonists. Expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-IIhigh, CD11b+, CCR7+, IFN-γ+, IL-17+, and CD4+ in the corneas and draining LNs was evaluated using flow cytometry. Mixed lymphocyte reactions (MLRs) with carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester labeling and intracellular cytokine staining were used to verify DE-induced corneal dendritic cell function. mRNA expression of COX-2, EPs, and proinflammatory cytokines in ocular surface was evaluated using quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemical staining.
RESULTS: Dry eye significantly increased MHC-IIhighCD11b+ and CCR7+CD11b+ cells in the cornea and LNs, and MLR revealed CCR7+CD11b+ cells from DE corneas stimulated IL-17+CD4+ cell proliferation. mRNA levels of COX-2, EP2, IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-17 were significantly higher in DE ocular surface but were suppressed by topical COX-2 inhibitors and EP2-specific blockers. Immunohistochemical staining showed COX-2 and matrix metalloproteinase expression in DE corneal epithelia that was diminished by both topical treatments. Furthermore, both topical treatments significantly reduced frequencies of MHC-IIhigh, CD11b+, and CCR7+CD11b+ cells in the corneas and LNs, but also IL-17+CD4+ cells in LNs.
CONCLUSIONS: Topical COX-2/EP2 treatment reduces CCR7+CD11b+ cells on the ocular surface with inhibition of cellular LN homing and suppresses Th17 immune response, suggesting the COX-2/PGE2/EP axis contributes to immuno-inflammatory pathogenesis on the ocular surface and may be a novel therapeutic target in DE.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience