Fungal keratitis is a corneal disease with a high blindness rate caused by pathogenic fungal infections. The pathogenesis of fungal keratitis and the immune response after fungal infection are still unclear. Notably, the pathological features of fungal keratitis in tree shrews are similar to those in humans. In the present study, mRNA profiling of tree shrew corneas with fungal keratitis was performed. GO and KEGG enrichment analyses were performed on the differentially expressed mRNAs, and the GO biological process ontology was used to analyze functional trends in the differentially expressed mRNAs. In total, 151 downregulated and 71 upregulated mRNAs were shared among the 7-day, 14-day and 30-day infection groups. These differentially expressed mRNAs were significantly enriched in the GO category immune response (GO: 0002376) and the KEGG pathways cytokine receptor binding (KEGG ID: tup04060) and cell adhesion (KEGG ID: tup04514). The downregulated mRNAs were significantly enriched in the corneal epithelial cell adhesion function. Fifty-eight initially upregulated mRNAs gradually decreased in expression, and these mRNAs were significantly enriched in the functions lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and antibacterial polypeptide recognition, cell differentiation, and cell rearrangement. Zeta chain of T-cell receptor associated protein kinase 70 (ZAP70), lymphocyte cytosolic protein 2 (LCP2), C-C motif chemokine and its receptor showed high degrees of connectivity in the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network. We speculate that the decrease in symptoms of tree shrew fungal keratitis may be related to the upregulation of genes involved in immune regulation and macrophage colony stimulation. This study showed that the C-C motif chemokine and its receptor may play a key role in regulating tree shrew fungal keratitis, providing a theoretical basis for studying the pathogenesis of human fungal keratitis.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.