The lens and central cornea are avascular. It was assumed that the adult lens had no source of immune cells and that the basement membrane capsule surrounding the lens was a barrier to immune cell migration. Yet, microfibril-associated protein-1 (MAGP1)-rich ciliary zonules that originate from the vasculature-rich ciliary body and extend along the surface of the lens capsule, form a potential conduit for immune cells to the lens. In response to cornea debridement wounding, we find increased expression of MAGP1 throughout the central corneal stroma. The immune cells that populate this typically avascular region after wounding closely associate with this MAGP1-rich matrix. These results suggest that MAGP1-rich microfibrils support immune cell migration post-injury. Using this cornea wound model, we investigated whether there is an immune response to the lens following cornea injury involving the lens-associated MAGP1-rich ciliary zonules. Our results provide the first evidence that following corneal wounding immune cells are activated to travel along zonule fibers that extend anteriorly along the equatorial surface of the lens, from where they migrate across the anterior lens capsule. These results demonstrate that lens-associated ciliary zonules are directly involved in the lens immune response and suggest the ciliary body as a source of immune cells to the avascular lens.
DeDreu, JodiRae; Bowen, Caitlin J; Logan, Caitlin M; Pal-Ghosh, Sonali; Parlanti, Paola; Stepp, Mary Ann; and Menko, A Sue, "An immune response to the avascular lens following wounding of the cornea involves ciliary zonule fibrils." (2020). Department of Pathology, Anatomy, and Cell Biology Faculty Papers. Paper 333.
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