Author(s): Fromer CH, Klintworth GK
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Abstract Investigations on several experimental models in the past have supported the hypotheses that corneal vascularization is a manifestation of the inflammatory response and that leukocytes perform an essential role in stimulating corneal vascular ingrowth. To evaluate the possible role of leukocytes further in this phenomenon, the effect of leukocyte elimination on corneal vascularization induced by silver nitrate cauterization was investigated. Weanling Fischer albino rats received doses of total body x-irradiation ranging from 1100 to 2100 rads to deplete circulating leukocytes, and corneal silver nitrate cauterization was performed 4 days later. In this model, animals that received 1500 rads or more total body x-irradiation became severely leukopenic within 4 days. As a rule, neither leukocytes nor blood vessels invaded the cauterized corneas, whereas both a leukocytic and vascular invasion occurred at lower doses of irradiation that did not totally eliminate circulating leukocytes. Corneal vascularization ensued if the corneal cauterization was performed immediately after total body x-irradiation with 1500 rads before the leukopenic effect of x-irradiation occurred. Control studies in which the cornea was cauterized 4 days after only the head received 1500 rads x-irradiation ruled out the possibility of irradiation-induced limbal endothelial damage as the explanation for the vascular suppression observed by x-ray treatment. In nonirradiated rats, silver nitrate cauterization of the cornea consistently induced corneal vascularization by 2 to 3 days. In further experiments, methylprednisolone acetate was administered subconjunctivally after corneal cauterization. This corticosteroid inhibited the infiltration of leukocytes and the subsequent vascular invasion into the corneal stroma, if administered immediately after silver nitrate cauterization. However, when the same glucocorticoid was administered 1 day after cauterization, both a leukocytic infiltration and vascular ingrowth occurred but to a less severe degree than in non-glucocorticoid-treated cauterized corneas. These investigations together demonstrated that a vascular ingrowth of the cornea did not follow corneal cauterization with silver nitrate in the absence of leukocytes, and gives further support to the hypothesis that leukocytes serve a crucial function in corneal vascularization.
This article was published in Am J Pathol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology