Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare the antirejection effects of topical selective sphingosine-1-phosphate 1 receptor (S1P1) agonist and cyclosporine A (CsA) on the acceptance of a transplanted, allogeneic cornea graft in a murine animal model.
Methods: Fifty-six BALB/c mice were randomly divided into 4 groups. All the mice received corneal grafts from 28 C57BL/6 donors. Experimental recipients were treated with 0.25%, 0.5% S1P1 agonist suspension eye drops or 1% CsA eye drops 4 times a day after the corneal graft was performed. Controls received no treatment. The corneal grafts were imaged and evaluated with clinical scoring. The excised corneal sections 14 days after transplantation were stained using hematoxylin–eosin for histopathological evaluation. CD86+ and MHC-II+ dendritic cells in corneal samples were identified by immunohistochemical staining. The expression of mRNA in the cornea was evaluated using real-time quantitative PCR for interleukin-2, interferon-gamma, and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4.
Results: Corneal graft survival was prolonged by treatment with 0.5% S1P1 agonist and 1% CsA (P < 0.01, respectively) when compared with that in the control in clinical scoring. In addition, topical application of 0.5% S1P1 increased the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 mRNA expression of the corneal grafts. There were significant differences observed with 0.5% S1P1 and agonist 1% CsA (P < 0.01, respectively) when compared with the values of the control group in histology scoring.
Conclusions: Topical 0.5% S1P1 agonist is as effective as 1% CsA, and both can effectively prolong the survival of corneal allografts in mice.