Mol Immunol. 2022 Apr 30;147:50-61. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2022.04.007. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: To explore the therapeutic effect of chondroitin sulfate (CS) on Aspergillus fumigatus (A. fumigatus) keratitis.
METHODS: The nontoxic concentration of CS was determined using the Draize eye test and cell counting kit-8. Cell scratch test and cell proliferation test were evaluated the impact of CS on the proliferation and migration of human corneal epithelial cells (HCECs). Adherence assay and plate counting were used to detect fungal load in vivo and in vitro, respectively. Clinical score and hematoxylin-eosin (HE) staining were applied to assess the therapeutic effects of CS in an A. fumigatus keratitis mice model. The neutrophil infiltration and activity were detected by flow cytometry (FCM), immunofluorescence staining, and myeloperoxidase (MPO) assay. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR-4) expression in RAW 264.7 cells and mouse cornea was detected by immunofluorescence staining. Real-time PCR (RT-PCR), western blot, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were applied to examine the expression of inflammatory mediators.
RESULTS: CS at 400 μg/mL (non-cytotoxic) significantly promoted proliferation and migration of HCECs. In an A. fumigatus keratitis mice model, CS treatment alleviated fungal keratitis (FK) severity by decreasing corneal fungal load and inhibiting neutrophil infiltration. In RAW 264.7 cells, the mRNA and protein levels of TLR-4, phosphorylated nuclear factor (NF)-κB (p-NF-κB), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-α), cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2), and macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2) were remarkably lower in the siTLR-4 treated group, while higher in rTLR-4 treated group than in the corresponding control group. CS treatment suppressed rTLR-4 induced the mRNA and protein expression of TLR-4, p-NF-κB, IL-1β, IL-6, COX-2, TNF-α, and MIP-2 in RAW cells.
CONCLUSION: CS may ameliorate the prognosis of A. fumigatus keratitis by promoting corneal epithelial proliferation, inhibiting the recruitment and activity of neutrophils, and inhibiting the inflammatory response by down-regulation of the TLR-4/NF-κB signaling.