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Purpose: To investigate the anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic effects of the bioactive lipid mediator LXA4 on a rat model of severe corneal alkali injury. Methods: To induce a corneal alkali injury in the right eyes of anesthetized Sprague Dawley rats. They were injured with a Φ 4 mm filter paper disc soaked in 1 N NaOH placed on the center of the cornea. After injury, the rats were treated topically with LXA4 (65 ng/20 μL) or vehicle three times a day for 14 days. Corneal opacity, neovascularization (NV), and hyphema were recorded and evaluated in a blind manner. Pro-inflammatory cytokine expression and genes involved in cornel repair were assayed by RNA sequencing and capillary Western blot. Cornea cell infiltration and monocytes isolated from the blood were analyzed by immunofluorescence and by flow cytometry. Results: Topical treatment with LXA4 for two weeks significantly reduced corneal opacity, NV, and hyphema compared to the vehicle treatment. RNA-seq and Western blot results showed that LXA4 decreased the gene and protein expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-6 and pro-angiogenic mediators matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGFA). It also induces genes involved in keratinization and ErbB signaling and downregulates immune pathways to stimulate wound healing. Flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry showed significantly less infiltration of neutrophils in the corneas treated with LXA4 compared to vehicle treatment. It also revealed that LXA4 treatment increases the proportion of type 2 macrophages (M2) compared to M1 in blood-isolated monocytes. Conclusions: LXA4 decreases corneal inflammation and NV induced by a strong alkali burn. Its mechanism of action includes inhibition of inflammatory leukocyte infiltration, reduction in cytokine release, suppression of angiogenic factors, and promotion of corneal repair gene expression and macrophage polarization in blood from alkali burn corneas. LXA4 has potential as a therapeutic candidate for severe corneal chemical injuries.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.