Cytokine expression in the alkali-burned cornea

Curr Eye Res. 1997 Jul;16(7):670-6. doi: 10.1076/ceyr.16.7.670.5057.


Purpose: This study investigated the cytokine expression profile in alkali-burned mouse corneas, in order to elucidate the mechanisms of corneal damage and repair.

Methods: The cytokines expressed in alkali-burned corneas were identified by polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), then quantitated using ELISA. Based on the ELISA results, immunohistochemical analyses were performed to localize cytokine expression.

Results: Among the ten cytokines examined, IL-1 (IL-1 beta), IL-6, IL-10 and TNF-alpha mRNA were expressed in alkali-burned corneas. Quantitation revealed that IL-alpha and IL-6 were strongly induced in the early stages of alkali burn, peak production of IL-1 alpha (53.2 pg/cornea) and IL-6 (23.6 pg/cornea) occurring at days 3 and 7, respectively. The production of IL-10 and TNF-alpha was not significantly elevated during the 42 day period after burn. Immunohistochemical analyses revealed that both IL-1 alpha and IL-6 were mainly localized in regenerating epithelial basal cells.

Conclusions: IL-1 alpha and IL-6 levels in the cornea are dramatically elevated in the regenerated epithelium during the early stages of alkali burn, and may play an important role in associated corneal damage and repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkalies*
  • Animals
  • Burns, Chemical / metabolism*
  • Corneal Injuries*
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Eye Burns / chemically induced*
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Alkalies
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-6
  • RNA, Messenger