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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012 Nov 1;53(12):7432-9. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-9894.

Effects of VIP on corneal reconstitution and homeostasis following Pseudomonas aeruginosa induced keratitis.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA. eberger@med.wayne.edu



Studies from our laboratory have demonstrated that vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) directly converts the normally susceptible C57BL/6J (B6) mouse to resistant after ocular infection through modulation of the inflammatory response. This study examines mechanisms by which VIP influences the healing phase following infection--specifically reconstitution of the extracellular matrix (ECM).


B6 mice received daily intraperitoneal (IP) injections of VIP, while control mice were similarly injected with sterile phosphate buffered saline (PBS). Real-time RT-PCR, ELISA, and immunofluorescent staining were used to assess the effects of VIP treatment on ECM molecule expression after Pseudomonas aeruginosa-induced keratitis. We also compared the effect of VIP treatment on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated B6- and BALB/c-derived fibroblasts.


In vivo analyses revealed that VIP treatment of P. aeruginosa-infected B6 corneas led to a significant increase in ECM molecules associated with healing/homeostasis, while those associated with ECM degradation were significantly down-regulated when compared to wild-type (WT) controls. In vitro studies revealed that VIP treatment of lipopolysaccharide-stimulated fibroblasts derived from susceptible B6 and resistant BALB/c mice expressed distinct differences in ECM molecule expression, whereby the latter expressed higher levels of ECM molecules aimed at reconstitution. Furthermore, differential expression of VIP receptor-1/VIP receptor-2 (VIPR1/VIPR2) was observed between B6 and BALB/c after VIP treatment of LPS-stimulated fibroblasts.


VIP treatment functions to enhance ECM reconstitution, which appears to be carried out in large part by fibroblasts via VIPR2. Overall, the data from this study suggest that VIP not only regulates disease pathogenesis, but also functions to restore integrity of the corneal stroma.

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