Purpose: Thymosin-β4 (Tβ4) is a small actin-sequestrating peptide that modulates inflammation and healing in different tissues. The aim of this study was to investigate the molecular and biochemical expression of Tβ4 in the healthy conjunctiva and in the conjunctiva of patients with vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC), a severe allergic eye disease characterized by chronic inflammation and marked tissue remodeling. Methods: Conjunctival tissues, obtained from seven VKC patients and five sex/age-matched healthy subjects, were evaluated for Tβ4 expression by relative real time-PCR and light/confocal microscopy. The distribution patterns of Tβ4 in conjunctival sections as well as Tβ4 expression by mast cells (AA1), eosinophils (EG2), and fibroblast/ myofibroblasts (Thyl/ α-SMA) in VKC tissues was also evaluated by double immunofluorescence. Results: Compared to healthy specimens, Tβ4 mRNA appeared upregulated in VKC conjunctival biopsies as detected by real-time PCR. In the healthy conjunctiva, Tβ4 protein expression was confined to the conjunctival epithelium, while a weak staining was observed in the stroma. In VKC conjunctival sections, Tβ4 immunoreactivity was selectively increased in the stroma where, by confocal analysis of VKC papillary formations, Tβ4 appeared to be mostly localized in eosinophils and activated fibroblasts/myofibroblasts. Conclusions: Our data provides the first evidence of Tβ4 expression in the conjunctival tissues. The upregulation of both Tβ4 mRNA and protein in the conjunctival stroma, and its peculiar localization in eosinophils and myofibroblasts populating VKC lesions, suggest a possible role for Tβ4 in tissue inflammation and remodeling occurring in VKC.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 20 2006|
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