1. Developmental Biology
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Visually induced changes in cytokine production in the chick choroid

  1. Jody Ann Summers  Is a corresponding author
  2. Elizabeth Cano Martinez
  1. University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, United States
  2. University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, United States
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2021;10:e70608 doi: 10.7554/eLife.70608


Postnatal ocular growth is regulated by a vision-dependent mechanism which acts to minimize refractive error through coordinated growth of the ocular tissues. Of great interest is the identification of the chemical signals that control visually-guided ocular growth. Here we provide evidence that the pro-inflammatory cytokine, Interleukin-6 (IL-6), may play a pivotal role in the control of ocular growth using a chicken model of myopia. Microarray, real time RT-qPCR, and ELISA analyses identified IL-6 upregulation in the choroids of chick eyes under two visual conditions that introduce myopic defocus and slow the rate of ocular elongation (recovery from induced myopia and compensation for positive lenses). Intraocular administration of atropine, an agent known to slow ocular elongation, also resulted in an increase in choroidal IL-6 gene expression. Nitric oxide appears to directly or indirectly upregulate choroidal IL-6 gene expression, as administration of the non-specific nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, L-NAME, inhibited choroidal IL-6 gene expression, and application of a nitric oxide donor stimulated IL-6 gene and protein expression in isolated chick choroids. Considering the pleiotropic nature of IL-6 and involvement in many biological processes, these results suggest that IL-6 may mediate many aspects of the choroidal response in the control of ocular growth.

Data availability

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Jody Ann Summers

    University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, OKLAHOMA CITY, United States
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-8847-7812
  2. Elizabeth Cano Martinez

    University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.


National Eye Institute (EY09391)

  • Jody Ann Summers

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (P30GM122744)

  • Jody Ann Summers

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.


Animal experimentation: Animals were managed in accordance with the ARVO Statement for the Use of Animals in Ophthalmic and Vision Research, with the Animal Welfare Act, and with the National Institutes of Health Guidelines. All procedures were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. (protocol # 20-092-H).

Reviewing Editor

  1. Audrey M Bernstein, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: May 22, 2021
  2. Preprint posted: June 3, 2021 (view preprint)
  3. Accepted: October 4, 2021
  4. Accepted Manuscript published: October 5, 2021 (version 1)
  5. Version of Record published: November 24, 2021 (version 2)


© 2021, Summers & Martinez

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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