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TLR2 activation in corneal stromal cells by Staphylococcus aureus‐induced keratitis

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The Toll‐Like Receptor 2 (TLR2) plays an active and important role in Staphylococcus aureus‐induced chronic ocular inflammation. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression and function of TLR2 of corneal stromal cells in ex vivo rabbit model of S. aureus keratitis. Corneal buttons with sclera rims placed in an ex vivo air‐interface organ culture were assigned to two groups: corneas with epithelial and stromal abrasions. Each group was then divided into two sub‐groups exposed to UV‐killed S. aureus ATCC 6538P and S. aureus ATCC 29213, respectively. TLR2 and IL‐8 mRNA expressions were analyzed by quantitative real‐time RT‐PCR. TLR2 localization was visualized by immunofluorescence analysis. The results demonstrated that TLR2 and IL‐8 mRNA were significantly expressed in the stromal cells of the groups exposed to S. aureus strains. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that, after corneal injury, keratocytes differentiated into myofibroblasts became able to express TLR2 only when exposed to S. aureus. Identification of mechanisms regulation of corneal TLRs may lead to development of therapeutic interventions aimed at controlling corneal inflammation. This ex vivo model can be used to clarify the molecular events of bacterial‐corneal tissue interactions and their inflammatory consequences.
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Keywords: Keratocytes; corneal culture; gram‐positive; innate immunity; myofibroblasts

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2015

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