PURPOSE. Granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is thought to play a key role in chronic inflammatory diseases by governing the survival and function of infiltrating neutrophils. The objective of this study was to determine the putative role of GM-CSF in the pathogenesis of human herpetic stromal keratitis (HSK). METHODS. Primary human corneal fibroblast (HCF) cultures and a telomerase-immortalized human corneal epithelial (HCE) cell line representative of native HCE were stimulated with the known HSK-inducing cytokines interferon (IFN)-γ, interleukin (IL)-1β, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. Alternatively, the T-cell cytokine IL-17 was added solely or simultaneously. Human neutrophils were incubated with conditioned medium (CM) of the HCF and HCE stimulated with the aforementioned cytokines, or recombinant GM-CSF, and their viability or activation status was determined by flow cytometry. GM-CSF and IL-8 secretion levels in the CM were determined by ELISA. The antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) of neutrophils toward herpes simplex virus (HSV)-infected HCFs was determined by flow cytometry. The expression of GM-CSF was determined in HSK and control corneal buttons by real-time RT-PCR and immunohistology. RESULTS. Compared with IFN-γ, CM of either cell type stimulated with IL-1β, or in the case of HCE cells, stimulated with TNF-α or IL-17, delayed neutrophil apoptosis significantly. Only in HCFs did IL-17 exhibit a synergistic effect with TNF-α. The antiapoptotic activity was attributable in part to the GM-CSF secreted by the activated HCFs and HCE cells. GM-CSF stimulation of neutrophils induced their activation and the secretion of IL-8. GM-CSF did not increase significantly the ADCC reaction of neutrophils toward HSV-infected HCFs. Finally, GM-CSF was expressed in corneas of the patients with HSK but not in control subjects. CONCLUSIONS. The data suggest that GM-CSF, expressed by cornea-resident cells such as HCFs and HCE cells, may play a role in the immunopathogenesis of HSK by prolonging the survival and modulating the effector function of corneal infiltrating neutrophils. Copyright

dx.doi.org/10.1167/iovs.06-0053, hdl.handle.net/1765/35865
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Duan, R, Remeijer, L, van Dun, J.M, Osterhaus, A.D.M.E, & Verjans, G.M.G.M. (2007). Granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor expression in human herpetic stromal keratitis: Implications for the role of neutrophils in HSK. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 48(1), 277–284. doi:10.1167/iovs.06-0053