Excessive inflammation or disordered wound repair in the cornea significantly impairs vision or ends in blindness, affecting millions of people worldwide. Our understanding of endogenous mechanisms that govern the natural resolution is limited, especially in the eye; pathways that disrupt pro-inflammatory circuits or promote epithelial healing remain to be identified. We have uncovered a novel class of anti-inflammatory lipid autacoids (resolvins) that are generated from omega-3 fatty acids and inhibit cardinal signs of inflammation. Their molecular mechanisms of action and routes of formation are shared with the well-documented anti-inflammatory lipid mediators, lipoxins (LX). These lipid circuits are present in the cornea and, more significantly, therapeutic applications of LXA4 or 17S-resolvins inhibit inflammation and promote wound healing in mouse corneas. Hence, we hypothesize that corneal injury induces formation of anti-inflammatory lipid mediators, namely, lipoxins and DHA-derived 17S-resolvins, and that dietary or therapeutic amplification of these protective lipid circuits promotes wound healing and limits the sequelae of corneal injury. To establish a role for lipid autacoids in limiting corneal injury, we will employ an approach of lipid analysis, molecular biology and in vivo genetic manipulation to address three specific AIMS: I) establish that anti-inflammatory lipid mediators, namely lipoxins and DHA-derived 17S-resolvins, are formed as part of the inflammatory reparative response; II) determine if omega-3 dietary amplification of the 17S-resolvin pathway or direct topical application of LXA4 or 17S-resolvin accelerates inflammatory resolution and wound healing in the cornea; III) demonstrate that expression of the LXA4 receptor or biosynthetic pathways for the formation of 17S-resolvins and lipoxins is a determinant for limiting corneal damage. Results of this proposal will identify endogenous mechanisms that limit corneal inflammation and promote epithelial wound healing and, therefore, may be critical to preserving corneal transparency. Moreover, they may provide a novel alternative approach to treating corneal injury, namely, the amplification of endogenous protective lipid circuits.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-AED (01))
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Shen, Grace L
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University of California Berkeley
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