An important aspect of wound healing is the recruitment of neutrophils to the site of infection or tissue injury. Lumican, an extracellular matrix component belonging to the small leucine rich proteoglycan (SLRP) family, is one of the major keratan sulfate proteoglycans (KSPGs) within the corneal stroma. Increasing evidence indicates that lumican can serve as a regulatory molecule for several cellular processes, including cell proliferation and migration. In the present study, we addressed the role of lumican in the process of extravasation of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) during the early inflammatory phase present in the healing of the corneal epithelium following debridement. We used Lum−/− mice and a novel transgenic mouse, Lum−/−,Kera-Lum, which expresses lumican only in the corneal stroma, to assess the role of lumican in PMN extravasation into injured corneas. Our results showed that PMNs did not readily invade injured corneas of Lum−/− mice and this defect was rescued by the expression of lumican in the corneas of Lum−/−,Kera-Lum mice. The presence of lumican in situ facilitates PMN infiltration into the peritoneal cavity in casein-induced inflammation. Our findings are consistent with the notion that in addition to regulating the collagen fibril architecture, lumican acts to aid neutrophil recruitment and invasion following corneal damage and inflammation.
- Accepted May 24, 2010.