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Immunology and Infection

Induction of Ocular Surface Inflammation and Collection of Involved Tissues

Published: August 4th, 2022



1Department of Internal Medicine 3-Rheumatology and Immunology, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg and Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, 2Deutsches Zentrum für Immuntherapie, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg and Universitätsklinikum Erlangen

Ocular surface inflammation harms the ocular surface tissues and compromises vital functions of the eye. The present protocol describes a method to induce ocular inflammation and collect compromised tissues in a mouse model of Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).

Ocular surface diseases include a range of disorders that disturb the functions and structures of the cornea, conjunctiva, and the associated ocular surface gland network. Meibomian glands (MG) secrete lipids that create a covering layer that prevents the evaporation of the aqueous part of the tear film. Neutrophils and extracellular DNA traps populate MG and the ocular surface in a mouse model of allergic eye disease. Aggregated neutrophil extracellular traps (aggNETs) formulate a mesh-like matrix composed of extracellular chromatin that occludes MG outlets and conditions MG dysfunction. Here, a method for inducing ocular surface inflammation and MG dysfunction is presented. The procedures for collecting organs related to the ocular surface, such as the cornea, conjunctiva, and eyelids, are described in detail. Using established techniques for processing each organ, the major morphological and histopathological features of MG dysfunction are also shown. Ocular exudates offer the opportunity to assess the inflammatory state of the ocular surface. These procedures enable the investigation of topical and systemic anti-inflammatory interventions at the preclinical level.

All procedures involving animals were conducted according to the institutional guidelines on animal welfare and approved by the animal welfare commission of the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU) (permit number: 55.2.2-2532-2-1217). Female C57Bl/6 mice, aged 7-9 weeks were used for the present study. The mice were obtained from commercial sources (see Table of Materials) and kept in specific pathogen-free conditions with 12 h day/night cycles.

1. Ind.......

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The present protocol describes the sequential steps for establishing a murine model of ocular surface inflammation. The protocols aim to show how to apply therapeutics locally, obtain ocular exudates, and excise associated accessory organs such as healthy and inflamed eyelids (Figure 2), the cornea, and the conjunctiva. Attention must be paid when the upper eyelids are dissected for the isolation of the conjunctiva, and it must be stored in 1x PBS during the dissection of the cornea. This wi.......

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The oily secretion of the Meibomian glands is of great importance for a healthy eye22. However, the obstruction of these sebaceous glands by aggregated neutrophil extracellular traps (aggNETs) that line up as parallel strands located on the tarsal plates of both eyelids can disrupt the tear film23. This disruption results in Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)1 and accelerated tear evaporation and conditions the damage of the ocular surface

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