Aqueous humor induces lymphatic regression on the ocular surface

Meng Shi, Lingling Zhang, Eun Ah Ye, Alice Wang, Guangyu Li, Lu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study is to investigate the potential effect of aqueous humor on already formed lymphatic vessels of the ocular surface including the conjunctiva and the cornea. Methods: Aqueous humor harvested from fresh bovine or murine eyeballs were used in the study. It was injected into the subconjunctival space of Prox-1-GFP (green fluorescent protein) transgenic mice. Pre-existing conjunctival lymphatics were observed in vivo using our advanced live imaging system. Additionally, ex vivo tissue cultures were performed in aqueous humor with normal conjunctival tissues or inflamed corneas with newly formed lymphatic vessels. Time lapse images were taken by an advanced live cell imaging system with an incubator. Moreover, human primary microdermal lymphatic endothelial cell culture system was employed to evaluate the effect of aqueous humor on lymphatic tube regression in vitro. Results: Aqueous humor induced lymphatic regression in both normal conjunctiva and inflamed corneas. It also led to the regression of formed lymphatic tubes by the lymphatic endothelial cells in vitro. Conclusions: This study provides the first direct and real time live imaging evidence showing that aqueous humor induces lymphatic regression. Further investigation promises for divulging new mechanisms and therapeutic strategies to treat lymphatic diseases that occur both inside and outside the eye.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-510
Number of pages6
JournalOcular Surface
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported in part by research funds from National Institute of Health, USA and the University of California at Berkeley (L.C.). The funding sources had no role in study design, the collection, analysis and interpretation of data, the writing of the report, or the decision to submit the article for publication. We thank Young K. Hong at University of Southern California and the Mutant Mouse Regional Resource Centers (MMRRC) for providing the founder Prox-1 transgenic mice.


  • Aqueous humor
  • Conjunctiva
  • Cornea
  • Endothelial cell function
  • Live imaging
  • Lymphatic vessel
  • Ocular surface

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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