To investigate the role of very late antigen 1 (VLA-1) (also known as integrin receptor α1β1) in corneal transplantation inflammation and allograft survival.
Cell infiltration and vasculogenesis (both angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis) associated with allodisparate corneal transplantation were assessed in VLA-1—deficient conditions and controls by immunofluorescent microscopic studies. Corneal allograft survival was also assessed after anti—VLA-1 antibody treatment and in VLA-1 knockout recipient mice.
Anti—VLA-1 antibody treatment leads to a profound reduction in the granulocytic, monocytic, and T-cell infiltration after corneal transplantation. In addition, corneal angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis were both significantly suppressed in VLA-1 knockout mice. Remarkably, universal graft survival was observed in both anti—VLA-1 antibody treatment and knockout mice.
Very late antigen 1 blockade markedly reduces inflammation and inflammation-induced tissue responses, including vasculogenic responses, associated with corneal transplantation and promotes allograft survival.
These studies offer insights into important integrin-mediated mechanisms of corneal transplant—related inflammation and provide possible new integrin-based immunotherapies for transplant rejection.