The factors responsible for the conjunctivitis and iritis associated with acute ocular infection and post enteric inflammatory disease are not fully known. The pro-inflammatory activity of unilateral topical application of muramyl dipeptide (MDP; the smallest bio-active Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial cell wall component) was investigated in adult rabbits. The resultant bilateral conjunctivitis/iritis and pyogenic responses were characterized. Bilateral symptoms were graded by slit lamp examinations; tear fluid, Schirmer tests (tear production), blood and aqueous humor (AH) samples were obtained from MDP-treated and untreated rabbits. MDP concentration, gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase activity (GGT; key enzyme in glutathione recapture, xenobiotic detoxification, eicosanoid synthesis and neutrophil function), protein concentration, and tear cell density, cytology, and immunofluorescent antibody reactivity to GGT and calreticulin (CRT; MDP-binding protein) were determined. MDP was cleared from ipsilateral tears and serum by 6h, but was undetected in mock-treated contralateral tears. Bilateral signs of acute transient pyogenic conjunctivitis, characterized by tearing, lid edema, conjunctival hyperemia, chemosis and leukocytic infiltrate with iritis (erythema and aqueous flare) were detected. Milder symptoms occurred in the mock-treated contralateral eyes. Bilateral symptoms, tear production, tear protein, GGT activity, and mucopurulent discharge (containing up to 2.5-5.0×106cells/mL) were elevated 4-8h post MDP and resolved to near pre-treatment levels by 24h. Tear GGT activity and protein levels were higher in MDP-treated and mock-treated contralateral eyes than in eyes of untreated adult rabbits (p's<0.001). Elevated tear GGT activity was associated with histopathology and increased vascular and epithelial permeability to serum protein, GGT-positive epithelia cells, macrophages and heterophils. Repeat MDP applications induced recurrent induction and resolution patterns of bilateral conjunctivitis/iritis and tear GGT activity, but ipsilateral GGT responses were lower. The results suggest unilateral topical MDP application to adult rabbit eyes induces a bilateral acute pyogenic conjunctivitis/iritis (PCI) characterized by increased vascular and epithelial permeability similar to acute bacterial conjunctivitis in man. The detection of CRT/GGT positive heterophils in tears suggests efferocytosis (phagocytosis of dead/dying cells). Tear GGT activity may be a useful means to quantify MDP-induced toxicity and extraocular inflammation.
- Muramyl dipeptide
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience