Cytokine mRNA levels in rat ocular tissues after systemic endotoxin treatment

S. R. Planck, X. N. Huang, J. E. Robertson, J. T. Rosenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


Purpose. An intertwined cascading network of cytokines is believed to direct the development of endotoxin-induced uveitis (EIU). This study investigated mRNA levels of interleukin (IL) 1α, IL-1β, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interferon (IFN)-γ, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, and the helper T lymphocyte marker, CD4, during the course of EIU in rats. Methods. Reverse transcription followed by polymerase chain reaction amplification was used to determine relative mRNA levels in four ocular tissues (iris/ciliary body, cornea, lens, and neuroretina) at 0, 1, 3, 6, 24, and 48 hours after subcutaneous injection of 200 μg of Escherichia coli endotoxin. Results. Four general patterns of mRNA expression were observed: (1) constitutively expressed and unaffected by endotoxin; (2) constitutively expressed but further induced by endotoxin, reaching peak levels at 3 hours postinjection; (3) initially undetectable or marginally detectable and induced by endotoxin, with peak levels occurring 3 hours postinjection, and (4) never present at appreciable levels. The most dramatic responses were seen in the mRNA levels of IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, and IFN-γ in iris/ciliary body. Lesser mRNA level responses were found for IL-1β and IL- 6 in cornea and for IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, and IFN-γ in neuroretina. Little or no changes in mRNA levels were observed for CD4 or TGF-β1 in any tissue or for any mRNA examined in lens. Conclusions. These data show that subcutaneous endotoxin induces cytokine mRNA expression differentially in ocular tissues. These data support the hypothesis that induction of cytokine expression in iris/ciliary body plays a major role in the development of EIU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)924-930
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994


  • endotoxin-induced uveitis
  • interferon-γ
  • interleukin-1
  • interleukin-6
  • mRNA expression
  • polymerase chain reaction
  • rat
  • transforming growth factor-β
  • tumor necrosis factor- α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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