Image_2_Polluted Air Exposure Compromises Corneal Immunity and Exacerbates Inflammation in Acute Herpes Simplex Keratitis.tif (273.42 kB)
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posted on 25.02.2021, 06:20 by Victor G. Sendra, Julia Tau, Gustavo Zapata, Romina M. Lasagni Vitar, Eduardo Illian, Pablo Chiaradía, Alejandro Berra

Air pollution is a serious environmental issue worldwide in developing countries’ megacities, affecting the population’s health, including the ocular surface, by predisposing or exacerbating other ocular diseases. Herpes simplex keratitis (HSK) is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). The primary or recurring infection in the ocular site causes progressive corneal scarring that may result in visual impairment. The present study was designed to study the immunopathological changes of acute HSK under urban polluted air, using the acute HSK model combined with an experimental urban polluted air exposure from Buenos Aires City. We evaluated the corneal clinical outcomes, viral DNA and pro-inflammatory cytokines by RT-PCR and ELISA assays, respectively. Then, we determined the innate and adaptive immune responses in both cornea and local lymph nodes after HSV-1 corneal by immunofluorescence staining and flow cytometry. Our results showed that mice exposed to polluted air develop a severe form of HSK with increased corneal opacity, neovascularization, HSV-1 DNA and production of TNF-α, IL-1β, IFN-γ, and CCL2. A high number of corneal resident immune cells, including activated dendritic cells, was observed in mice exposed to polluted air; with a further significant influx of bone marrow-derived cells including GR1+ cells (neutrophils and inflammatory monocytes), CD11c+ cells (dendritic cells), and CD3+ (T cells) during acute corneal HSK. Moreover, mice exposed to polluted air showed a predominant Th1 type T cell response over Tregs in local lymph nodes during acute HSK with decreased corneal Tregs. These findings provide strong evidence that urban polluted air might trigger a local imbalance of innate and adaptive immune responses that exacerbate HSK severity. Taking this study into account, urban air pollution should be considered a key factor in developing ocular inflammatory diseases.

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