Infection of the cornea with bacteria, viruses, or fungi can result in corneal ulceration. Corneal stromal cells participate in the immune and inflammatory responses to such infection in part by producing various cytokines and chemokines. The effects of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), polyinosinic–polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)], and zymosan as surrogates for bacteria, viruses, and fungi, respectively, on the release of cytokines and chemokines from cultured human corneal fibroblasts were examined in order to identify common factors in infectious corneal keratitis. The secretion of various cytokines and chemokines by human corneal fibroblasts exposed to LPS, poly(I:C), or zymosan was measured with a multiplex assay system. LPS induced the release of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, MCP-1, RANTES, IP-10, eotaxin, and IL-12 from corneal fibroblasts. Poly(I:C) stimulated the secretion of IL-6, IL-8, MCP-1, RANTES, IP-10, eotaxin, MIP-1β, and interferon-γ, whereas zymosan triggered the production of IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1. LPS, poly(I:C), and zymosan thus each induced a distinct pattern of cytokine and chemokine release from human corneal fibroblasts, with the release of IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 being commonly elicited by all three agents. Our results suggest that IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 may therefore play a key role in the inflammatory response to corneal infection.Highlights
★ Corneal fibroblast with LPS, poly(I:C) and zymosan-induced cytokines and chemokines. ★ IL-6, IL-8 and MCP-1 were commonly released. ★ They play an important role in corneal inflammation with corneal infection.