PURPOSEBecause of its unique characteristics, the cornea has been widely used for blood and lymphatic vessel research. However, whether limbal or corneal vessels are evenly distributed under normal or inflamed conditions has never been studied. The purpose of this study was to investigate this question and to examine whether and how the distribution patterns change during corneal inflammatory lymphangiogenesis (LG) and hemangiogenesis (HG).METHODSCorneal inflammatory LG and HG were induced in two most commonly used mouse strains, BALB/c and C57BL/6 (6-8 weeks of age), by a standardized two-suture placement model. Oriented flat-mount corneas together with the limbal tissues were used for immunofluorescence microscope studies. Blood and lymphatic vessels under normal and inflamed conditions were analyzed and quantified to compare their distributions.RESULTSThe data demonstrate, for the first time, greater distribution of both blood and lymphatic vessels in the nasal side in normal murine limbal areas. This nasal-dominant pattern was maintained during corneal inflammatory LG, whereas it was lost for HG.CONCLUSIONSBlood and lymphatic vessels are not evenly distributed in normal limbal areas. Furthermore, corneal LG and HG respond differently to inflammatory stimuli. These new findings will shed some light on corneal physiology and pathogenesis and on the development of experimental models and therapeutic strategies for corneal diseases.