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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009 Jul;50(7):3188-98. doi: 10.1167/iovs.08-3041. Epub 2009 Feb 28.

Amniotic membrane transplantation induces apoptosis in T lymphocytes in murine corneas with experimental herpetic stromal keratitis.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Ophtha-Lab, St Franziskus Hospital, Muenster, Germany.



To investigate the effect of human amniotic membrane transplantation (AMT) on T-cell immune response in murine corneas with herpetic stromal keratitis (HSK).


Herpes simplex virus (HSV)-1-infected BALB/c mice with necrotizing HSK were treated with AMT. CD3(+) cell apoptosis was determined in treated corneas and in vitro by flow cytometric analysis using the annexin V/7-AAD system. The effect of interleukin (IL)-2, cyclosporine, rapamycin, or Fas on T-cell survival was measured. Activation phenotype was measured by (3)H-thymidine uptake and flow cytometry (CD25, CD69, major histocompatibility complex class II). Cytokine/chemokine secretion from amniotic membrane (AM)-treated corneas or draining lymph node cells was measured. The immune-modulating capacity of long-term AMT treatment and adoptive transfer of AM-treated splenocytes was tested.


After AMT, HSK and corneal inflammatory cell infiltration improved, and T-lymphocyte apoptosis occurred. T-cell apoptosis was also induced in vitro, independently of rIL-2, cyclosporine, rapamycin, or Fas. AMT-treated corneas and cultured lymphocytes had reduced IL-2, IL-10, IL-12, CRG-2, and CCL-2 content. Long-term AMT treatment decreased the proliferative response and type 1 helper T-cell cytokine level in draining lymph node cells. The improvement in HSK did not persist. Delayed-type hypersensitivity or HSV-1-specific cytotoxicity was not altered


The results suggest that murine HSK improves after AMT through reduced local T-helper cell immune responses by inducing apoptosis in T lymphocytes, independently of passive apoptosis or activation-induced cell death. AM also reduces local T-helper cytokine and chemokine levels but does not result in immune deviation. Immunologic memory against HSV-1 is not affected by AMT, and long-term protection or tolerance is not induced.

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