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Military Vision Research Program
Final rept. 25 Jun 2010-24 Jun 2011
SCHEPENS EYE RESEARCH INST BOSTON MA
Pagination or Media Count:
Bacterial keratitis is an acute infection that is both rapid and aggressive, often resulting in significant corneal damage and loss of vision. Fortunately, the healthy cornea is highly resistant to infection due to the presence of multiple barriers, including the i tear film, ii mucin layer, and iii epithelial tight junctions. However, when these barriers are breached due to either ocular injury, surgery, or prolonged or improper contact lens use, the risk of infection increases significantly. We recently identified CD36, a scavenger receptor expressed in the cornea, as a critical component of the corneal epithelial barrier to infection. In the absence of CD36, we observed that mice developed spontaneous bacterial keratitis that was preceded by the development of mild corneal defects. Histological analysis of the corneal defects revealed a disorganized corneal epithelium, a loss of epithelial tight junctions, disruption of the protective mucin layer, and increased bacterial binding 1. From these data we hypothesize that CD36 is essential for maintenance of the corneal epithelial barrier to infection through regulation of i epithelial migration and adhesion, ii epithelial tight junctions, and iii epithelial mucin formation. We propose that upregulation of CD36 in the wounded cornea will i accelerate wound healing and barrier restoration and, ii increase resistance to infection.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE