Purpose: To investigate bilateral tear cytokine levels in patients with unilateral bacterial keratitis (BK) as associated with in vivo confocal microscopic (IVCM) alterations in corneal nerves and dendritiform immune cells (DCs). Methods: Fifty-four (13 BK, 13 contralateral, 28 healthy controls) tear samples were collected prospectively and analyzed by multiplex microbeads assay. IVCM of the central cornea was performed on the same day and assessed for corneal nerve and DC alterations Results: Interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and IL-8 were significantly elevated only in affected eyes (66.6±26.8 ρg/ml, 7,174±2,430, 810±315, P=0.04, P<0.001 and P<0.001), compared to healthy controls (13.0±4.0 ρg/ml, 171.8±32.1, 56.5±33.8). CCL-2, IL-10 and IL-17a were elevated only in contralateral eyes (813±478 ρg/ml, 86.7±38.3, 3,350±881, P=0.02, P=0.01, P=0.04), compared to controls (73.7±25.3 ρg/ml, 17.5 ±4.9, 1,350±337). Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TREM)-1 was significantly elevated in both affected (551±231 ρg/ml, P=0.02) and contralateral unaffected eyes (545±298 ρg/ml, P=0.03), compared to controls (31.3±12.4 ρg/ml). The density of DCs was significantly increased in both affected (226.9±37.3 cells/mm2, P<0.001) and unaffected eyes (122.3±23.7 cells/mm2, P<0.001) compared to controls (22.7±5.9 cells/mm2). Subbasal nerve density significantly decreased in affected eyes (3,337±1,615 μm/mm2, P<0.001) and contralateral eyes (13,230±1,635 μm/mm2, P<0.001) compared to controls (21,200±545 μm/mm2). IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-8 were significantly correlated with DC density (R=0.40, R=0.55 and R=0.31, all P<0.02) and nerve density (R=-0.30, R=-0.53 and R=-0.39, all P<0.01). Conclusions: Pro-inflammatory tear cytokines are elevated bilaterally in patients with unilateral BK, and are correlated strongly with alterations in DCs and nerve density as detected by IVCM.
To study bilateral nerve changes in a newly developed novel mouse model for neurotrophic keratopathy by approaching the trigeminal nerve from the lateral fornix. Surgical axotomy of the ciliary nerve of the trigeminal nerve was performed in adult BALB/c mice at the posterior sclera. Axotomized, contralateral, and sham-treated corneas were excised on post-operative days 1, 3, 5, 7 and 14 and immunofluorescence histochemistry was performed with anti-β-tubulin antibody to evaluate corneal nerve density. Blink reflex was evaluated using a nylon thread. The survival rate was 100% with minimal bleeding during axotomy and a surgical time of 8±0.5 minutes. The blink reflex was diminished at day 1 after axotomy, but remained intact in the contralateral eyes in all mice. The central and peripheral subbasal nerves were not detectable in the axotomized cornea at day 1 (p<0.001), compared to normal eyes (101.3±14.8 and 69.7±12.0 mm/mm² centrally and peripherally). Interestingly, the subbasal nerve density in the contralateral non-surgical eyes also decreased significantly to 62.4±2.8 mm/mm² in the center from day 1 (p<0.001), but did not change in the periphery (77.3±11.7 mm/mm², P = 0.819). Our novel trigeminal axotomy mouse model is highly effective, less invasive, rapid, and has a high survival rate, demonstrating immediate loss of subbasal nerves in axotomized eyes and decreased subbasal nerves in contralateral eyes after unilateral axotomy. This model will allow investigating the effects of corneal nerve damage and serves as a new model for neurotrophic keratopathy.
Contact between inflammatory cells and endothelial cells (ECs) is a crucial step in vascular inflammation. Recently, we demonstrated that the cell-surface level of endomucin (EMCN), a heavily -glycosylated single-transmembrane sialomucin, interferes with the interactions between inflammatory cells and ECs. We have also shown that, in response to an inflammatory stimulus, EMCN is cleared from the cell surface by an unknown mechanism. In this study, using adenovirus-mediated overexpression of a tagged EMCN in human umbilical vein ECs, we found that treatment with tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) or the strong oxidant pervanadate leads to loss of cell-surface EMCN and increases the levels of the C-terminal fragment of EMCN 3- to 4-fold. Furthermore, treatment with the broad-spectrum matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor batimastat (BB94) or inhibition of ADAM metallopeptidase domain 10 (ADAM10) and ADAM17 with two small-molecule inhibitors, GW280264X and GI254023X, or with siRNA significantly reduced basal and TNFα-induced cell-surface EMCN cleavage. Release of the C-terminal fragment of EMCN by TNF-α treatment was blocked by chemical inhibition of ADAM10 alone or in combination with ADAM17. These results indicate that cell-surface EMCN undergoes constitutive cleavage and that TNF-α treatment dramatically increases this cleavage, which is mediated predominantly by ADAM10 and ADAM17. As endothelial cell-surface EMCN attenuates leukocyte-EC interactions during inflammation, we propose that EMCN is a potential therapeutic target to manage vascular inflammation.
Leukotriene B4 (LTB4) is a major proinflammatory mediator important in host defense, whereas resolvins (Rvs) are produced during the resolution phase of inflammation. The authors determined the actions of both RvE1 and RvD1 on LTB4-induced responses of goblet cells cultured from rat conjunctiva. The responses measured were an increase in the intracellular [Ca] ([Ca]) and high-molecular-weight glycoprotein secretion. Treatment with RvE1 or RvD1 for 30 minutes significantly blocked the LTB4-induced [Ca] increase. The actions of RvE1 on LTB4-induced [Ca] increase were reversed by siRNA for the RvE1 receptor, and the actions of RvD1 were reversed by an RvD1 receptor inhibitor. The RvE1 and RvD1 block of LTB4-stimulated increase in [Ca] was also reversed by an inhibitory peptide to β-adrenergic receptor kinase. LTB4 and block of the LTB4-stimulated increase in [Ca] by RvE1 and RvD1 were partially mediated by the depletion of intracellular Ca stores. RvE1, but not RvD1, counterregulated the LTB4-induced high-molecular-weight glycoprotein secretion. Thus, both RvE1 and RvD1 receptors directly inhibit LTB4 by phosphorylating the LTB4 receptor using β adrenergic receptor kinase. RvE1 receptor counterregulates the LTB4-induced increase in [Ca] and secretion, whereas RvD1 receptor only counterregulates LTB4-induced [Ca] increase.
PURPOSE: Specialized pro-resolving lipid mediator resolvin (Rv) E1 stimulates secretion including mucins from conjunctival goblet cells. RvE1 can use both its ChemR23 receptor and the LTB receptor BLT1 to increase [Ca]. The purpose of this study was to determine the expression of ChemR23 and BLT1 and receptors on conjunctival goblet cells and the respective roles these two receptors play in goblet cell responses to RvE1. METHODS: Goblet cells were cultured from male rat or human conjunctiva from both sexes. Western blotting analysis, reverse transcription PCR and immunofluorescence microscopy were used to demonstrate the expression of ChemR23 and BLT1 in conjunctival goblet cells. High molecular weight glycoprotein secretion was determined using an enzyme-linked lectin assay. Signaling pathways were studied by measuring the increase in [Ca] using fura 2/AM. RESULTS: ChemR23 and BLT1 and receptors were present on both rat and human conjunctival goblet cells. The BLT1 inhibitors LY293111 and U75302 significantly blocked RvE1-and LTB-stimulated [Ca] increase. RvE1-and LTB-stimulated [Ca] and secretion increases were blocked by BLT1-targeted siRNA. RvE1-stimulated [Ca] and secretion increases were also blocked by ChemR23-targeted siRNA. Addition of RvE1 2 min before or simultaneously with LTB desensitized the LTB [Ca] response. Addition of RvE1 and LTB simultaneously caused secretion that was decreased compared to either response alone. CONCLUSION: RvE1, in addition to the ChemR23 receptor, uses the BLT1 receptor to increase [Ca] and stimulate secretion in both rat and human cultured conjunctival goblet cells.
PURPOSE: To determine if the Schirmer I test (without anesthesia) cut-off value is a predictor of dry eye severity in a large Norwegian cohort of dry eye disease (DED) patients, which are grouped into six levels of tear production. METHODS: Patients (n = 1090) with DED of different etiologies received an extensive dry eye work-up: osmolarity (Osm), tear meniscus height (TMH), tear film break-up time (TFBUT), ocular protection index (OPI), ocular surface staining (OSS), Schirmer I test (ST), meibum expressibility (ME), and meibum quality (MQ). Classification of dry eye severity level (DESL) and diagnosis of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) were also included. The cohort was divided into six groups: below and above cut-off values of 5 (groups 1 and 2), 10 (groups 3 and 4), and 15 mm (groups 5 and 6) of ST. Mann-Whitney test and Chi-Square test were used for group comparison of parameters (p ≤ 0.05). RESULTS: The groups 1, 3, and 5 had values indicating more severe DED than the groups 2, 4, 6 with significant difference in DESL, Osm, TFBUT, OPI, OSS, and TMH. Regardless of the choice of cut-off values, there was no statistically significant difference in ME, MQ, and MGD between groups below and above selected cut-off value. When gender difference was considered in each group, significant difference was only observed for DESL (groups 2, 4, and 5), TFBUT (groups 2, 4, and 5), OPI (groups 2 and 6), and ME (group1). CONCLUSIONS: Schirmer I is a robust discriminator for DESL, Osm, TFBUT, OPI, OSS, and TMH, but not for ME, MQ, and MGD. Patients with lower tear production levels presented with more severe DED at all three defined cut-off values. Interestingly, the differences in the mean values of DESL were minimal although statistically significant. Thus, the clinical value of different Schirmer levels appears to be limited.
: To investigate to what extent the OSDI can be utilized as a discriminative test for clinical findings. : One thousand and ninety patients with dry eye disease (DED) were consecutively included and examined for osmolarity, tear film break-up time (TFBUT), ocular protection index (OPI), ocular surface staining (OSS), Schirmer I test (ST), meibum expressibility (ME), meibum quality (MQ), and diagnosis of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). Receiver-operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis considering optimum balanced sensitivity and specificity (close to 50%) was used for assessment. : The present study on more than 1,000 patients indicates that the OSDI in the ROC curve analysis is a poor discriminator of pathological scores for TFBUT ≤ 5 (AUC = 0.553; = .012) and ≤10 s (AUC = 0.608; = .002), OSS ≥ 3 (AUC = 0.54; = .043), ST ≤ 5 (AUC = 0.550; = .032) and ≤10 mm/5 min (AUC = 0.544; = .016), and ME ≥ 1 (AUC = 0.594; = <0.001). Pathological scores for osmolarity >308 and >316 mOsm/L, OPI, OSS > 1, MQ, and MGD could not be discriminated by OSDI ( > .05). : Cut-off values for the OSDI can be defined to discriminate pathological TFBUT (≤5 and ≤10), OSS (≥3), ST (≤5 and ≤10) and ME, however, the discriminability was low. Our comprehensive study emphasises the importance of taking both symptoms and signs into account in DED management.
PURPOSE: To compare the response of dry eye disease (DED) to treatment with topical steroid in patients with and without graft-vs-host disease (GVHD).
DESIGN: Post hoc analysis of a double-masked, randomized clinical trial.
METHODS: This single-center study included 42 patients with moderate-to-severe DED associated with (n = 21) or without (n = 21) chronic GVHD. In each group, patients received either loteprednol etabonate 0.5% ophthalmic suspension or artificial tears twice daily for 4 weeks. Clinical data, including Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire, corneal fluorescein staining (CFS), conjunctival lissamine green staining, tear break-up time (TBUT), and Schirmer test, were evaluated before and after treatment.
RESULTS: There were no significant differences in signs and symptoms of DED between the groups at baseline. In non-GVHD patients receiving loteprednol treatment, the average OSDI score decreased by 34% from 49.5 ± 5.9 to 32.6 ± 4.8 (mean ± standard error of the mean, P = .001) and the average CFS score decreased by 41% from 5.6 ± 0.6 to 3.3 ± 0.9 (P = .02). On the other hand, loteprednol treatment in GVHD patients resulted in minimal change in OSDI (59.2 ± 6.7 to 61.1 ± 7.1, 3% increase, P = .66) and CFS (5.5 ± 0.5 to 5.3 ± 1.1, 4% decrease, P = .85) scores. Treatment with artificial tears resulted in 22% decrease of OSDI (P = .10) and 32% decrease of CFS (P = .02) scores in non-GVHD patients, and had minimal effect in patients with GVHD.
CONCLUSIONS: DED patients with ocular GVHD have a less favorable response to a low-dose topical steroid regimen compared with those without ocular GVHD even with similar baseline disease severity.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Immune rejection after corneal transplantation is a major risk for graft failure. We aim to summarize recent advances in the understanding and management of graft rejection. RECENT FINDINGS: Immune rejection remains the leading cause of graft failure in penetrating keratoplasty (PKP). While ABO blood type and sex match between donor and recipient may reduce rejection, human leucocyte antigens class II matching in a randomized study did not reduce the risk of rejection in high-risk PKP. Compared with PKP, deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty, descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty, and descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty have lower immune rejection rates of 1.7-13%, 5-11.4%, and 1.7-2.8%, respectively, based on long-term (5 years and more) studies. Whether immune rejection is a major risk factor for graft failure in these lamellar keratoplasties is unclear. While there have not been major advances in the systemic management of graft rejection, topical nonsteroid agents such as tacrolimus and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor have shown promise in high-risk cases. SUMMARY: Immune rejection remains the leading cause of graft failure in PKP. Lamellar keratoplasties have significantly lower rejection rates compared with PKP. The significance of rejection in the failure of lamellar grafts warrants further investigation.
Corneal epithelial stem cells are adult somatic stem cells located at the limbus and represent the ultimate source of transparent corneal epithelium. When these limbal stem cells become dysfunctional or deficient, limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) develops. LSCD is a major cause of corneal scarring and is particularly prevalent in chemical and thermal burns of the ocular surface. LSCD leads to conjunctivalization of the corneal surface, neovascularization, recurrent or persistent epithelial defects, ocular surface inflammation, and scarring that, in turn, lead to decreased vision, pain, and impaired quality of life. Several techniques have been reported for limbal stem cell transplantation (LSCT). We introduce the surgical techniques, examine the success rate, and discuss the postoperative complications of conjunctival limbal autograft (CLAU), cultivated limbal stem cell transplantation (CLET), simple limbal epithelial transplantation (SLET), and limbal allograft, including keratolimbal allografts (KLAL) and living-related conjunctival allograft (LR-CLAL).
PURPOSE: To report the long-term outcome of Prosthetic Replacement of the Ocular Surface Ecosystem (PROSE) for delivery of bevacizumab in the treatment of corneal neovascularization (KNV). METHODS: Retrospective, non-comparative, interventional case series of 13 sequential patients treated for KNV at the BostonSight between 2006 and 2017. In all cases, PROSE treatment was initiated for management of ocular surface disease and patients wore PROSE consistently on a daily wear basis prior to bevacizumab treatment. Patients applied a drop of 1% preservative free bevacizumab to the reservoir of PROSE device twice daily. Patients continued with daily wear of the device during treatment and afterwards. RESULTS: 13 patients (8 female and mean age of 45 years) are included with a mean follow-up of 5.1 years (range 6 months-11 years). Underlying ocular diagnoses included Stevens-Johnson syndrome (7), ocular chronic graft-versus-host disease (2), corneal transplant (2), contact lens-related corneal ulcer and limbal stem cell deficiency (1), and familial dysautonomia (1). Median duration of bevacizumab use was 6 months (range 3 months-10 years). Twelve cases (92%) had regression of KNV and 10 cases (77%) had improved best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) with treatment. Median BCVA improved from -1.1 (LogMAR) at baseline, to -0.66 at end of bevacizumab treatment, and remained -0.63 at last follow-up (P = 0.047). KNV progressed in one eye after discontinuation of bevacizumab. There were no ophthalmic or systemic complications. CONCLUSIONS: Topical bevacizumab used in PROSE is effective in treating KNV and improving vision. Long-term follow-up reveals durable response and no complications.
: This is the first review article examining literature specific to the use of corneal cross-linking (CXL) to treat pellucid marginal degeneration (PMD). : CXL appears to be an effective treatment that may halt the progression of PMD to stabilize vision. This could postpone or eliminate the need for corneal transplantation in the management of these patients. Furthermore, combining CXL with keratorefractive surgery in a single procedure has been shown to be safe and successful in improving vision in PMD patients. : The data reported in literature is limited at this time, consisting mostly of retrospective studies with short term follow up. Further research is needed to evaluate refractive effects of combined CXL and excimer laser procedures.
The cellular entry of viruses represents a critical area of study, not only for viral tropism, but also because viral entry dictates the nature of the immune response elicited upon infection. Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC), caused by viruses within human adenovirus species D (HAdV-D), is a severe, ocular surface infection associated with corneal inflammation. Clathrin-mediated endocytosis has previously been shown to play a critical role in entry of other HAdV species into many host cell types. However, HAdV-D endocytosis into corneal cells has not been extensively studied. Herein, we show an essential role for cholesterol rich, lipid raft microdomains and caveolin-1, in the entry of HAdV-D37 into primary human corneal fibroblasts. Cholesterol depletion using methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) profoundly reduced viral infection. When replenished with soluble cholesterol, the effect of MβCD was reversed, allowing productive viral infection. HAdV-D37 DNA was identified in caveolin-1 rich endosomal fractions after infection. Src kinase activity was also increased in caveolin-1 rich endosomal fractions after infection, and Src phosphorylation and CXCL1 induction were both decreased in caveolin-1-/- mice corneas compared to wild type mice. siRNA knock down of caveolin-1 in corneal cells reduced chemokine induction upon viral infection, and caveolin-1-/- mouse corneas showed reduced cellular entry of HAdV-D37. As a control, HAdV-C2, a non-corneal pathogen, appeared to utilize the caveolar pathway for entry into A549 cells, but failed to infect corneal cells entirely, indicating virus and cell specific tropism. Immuno-electron microscopy confirmed the presence of caveolin-1 in HAdV-D37-containing vesicles during the earliest stages of viral entry. Collectively, these experiments indicate for the first time that HAdV-D37 uses a lipid raft mediated caveolin-1 associated pathway for entry into corneal cells, and connects the processes of viral entry with downstream proinflammatory cell signaling.
This study investigated neurologic changes in patients with dry eye (DE) by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and to used regional homogeneity (ReHo) analysis to clarify the relationship between these changes and clinical features of DE. A total of 28 patients with DE and 28 matched healthy control (HC) subjects (10 males and 18 females in each group) were enrolled. fMRI scans were performed in both groups. We carried out ReHo analysis to assess differences in neural activity between the 2 groups, and receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis was performed to evaluate the performance of ReHo values of specific brain areas in distinguishing DE patients from HCs. The relationship between average ReHo values and clinical characteristics was assessed by correlation analysis. ReHo values of the middle frontal gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, and superior frontal gyrus were significantly lower in DE patients compared to HCs. The ROC analysis showed that ReHo value had high accuracy in distinguishing between DE patients and HCs (P < 0.0001). The ReHo values of the middle frontal gyrus and dorsolateral superior frontal gyrus were correlated to disease duration (P < 0.05). Symptoms of ocular surface injury in DE patients are associated with dysfunction in specific brain regions, which may underlie the cognitive impairment, psychiatric symptoms, and depressive mood observed in DE patients. The decreased ReHo values of some brain gyri in this study may provide a reference for clinical diagnosis and determination of treatment efficacy.
Neuroinflammation plays an important role in the pathogenesis of ocular surface disease, including dry eye disease (DED), but little is known about the contribution of substance P (SP) to DED. In this study, we investigated the expression of SP at the ocular surface and evaluated its effect on maturation of antigen-presenting cells (APCs), the key cell component involved in the induction of type 17 helper T-cell (Th17) response in DED. The effect of topical blockade of SP signaling was further investigated using neurokinin-1 receptor (NK1R) inhibitors on APC maturation, Th17 cell activation, and disease severity in a mouse model of DED. The results demonstrate that SP is constitutively expressed at the ocular surface, and trigeminal ganglion neurons are the major source of SP in DED. SP derived from trigeminal ganglion enhanced the expression of major histocompatibility complex class II maturation marker by bone marrow-derived dendritic cells, an effect that is abrogated by blockade of SP signaling using NK1R antagonist spantide. Finally, using a well-established murine model of DED, topical treatment of DED mice with NK1R antagonists CP-99,994 and L-733,060 suppressed APC acquisition of major histocompatibility complex class II, reduced Th17 cell activity, and ameliorated DED severity. These findings are of translational value, as they suggest that antagonizing NK1R-mediated SP signaling may be an effective strategy in suppressing Th17-mediated ocular surface disease.
OBJECTIVE: To optimize the flanged belt-loop technique of scleral fixation through biomechanical testing and report clinical outcomes of resultant modifications. DESIGN: Experimental study. METHODS: The force to disinsert flanged polypropylene suture from human cadaveric sclera was assessed using a tensile testing machine and compared to the breaking strengths of 9-0 and 10-0 polypropylene. The effects of modifying suture gauge (5-0, 6-0, 7-0 or 8-0), amount of suture cauterized (0.5 or 1.0mm), and sclerotomy size (27-, 30-, 32-, 33-gauge) were investigated. Belt-loop intrascleral fixation using 6-0 and 7-0 polypropylene with 30- and 32-gauge needles respectively was performed in 5 patients. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Flanged suture disinsertion force in cadaveric sclera. RESULTS: The average force to disinsert a flange created by melting 1.0mm of 5-0, 6-0, 7-0 and 8-0 polypropylene suture from human cadaveric sclera via 27-, 30-, 32- and 33-gauge needle sclerotomies was 3.0 ± 0.5N, 2.1 ± 0.3N, 0.9 ± 0.2N and 0.4 ± 0.1N respectively. The disinsertion forces for flanges formed by melting 0.5mm of the same gauges were 72-79% lower (p < 0.001). In comparison, the breaking strengths of 9-0 and 10-0 polypropylene were 1.0 ± 0.2N and 0.5 ± 0.0N. Belt-loop fixation using 6-0 and 7-0 polypropylene with 30- and 32-gauge sclerotomies demonstrated good outcomes at 6 months. CONCLUSIONS: The flanged belt-loop technique is a biomechanically sound method of scleral fixation using 1.0mm flanges of 5-0 to 7-0 polypropylene paired with 27-, 30- and 32- gauge sclerotomies. In contrast, 8-0 polypropylene and 0.5 mm flanges of any suture gauge will likely be unstable with this technique.
In a fibroblast colony model of corneal stromal development, we asked how physiological tension influences the patterning dynamics of fibroblasts and the orientation of deposited extracellular matrix (ECM). Using long-term live-cell microscopy, enabled by an optically accessible mechanobioreactor, a primary human corneal fibroblast colony was cultured on three types of substrates: a mechanically biased, loaded, dense, disorganized collagen substrate (LDDCS), a glass coverslip, and an unloaded, dense, disorganized collagen substrate (UDDCS). On LDDCS, fibroblast orientation and migration along a preferred angle developed early, cell orientation was correlated over long distances, and the colony pattern was stable. On glass, fibroblast orientation was poorly correlated, developed more slowly, and colony patterns were metastable. On UDDCS, cell orientation was correlated over shorter distances compared with LDDCS specimens. On all substrates, the ECM pattern reflected the cell pattern. In summary, mechanically biasing the collagen substrate altered the early migration behavior of individual cells, leading to stable emergent cell patterning, which set the template for newly synthesized ECM.
PURPOSE: Investigators have discovered that topical antiglaucoma drugs may induce meibomian gland dysfunction. This response may contribute to the dry eye disease commonly found in patients with glaucoma taking such medications. We hypothesize that drug action involves a direct effect on human meibomian gland epithelial cells (HMGECs). To test this hypothesis, we examined the influence of the antiglaucoma drugs, pilocarpine and timolol, on the morphology, survival, proliferation, and differentiation of HMGECs. METHODS: Immortalized (I) HMGECs (n = 2-3 wells/treatment/experiment) were cultured with multiple concentrations of pilocarpine or timolol for up to 7 days. Experiments included positive controls for proliferation (epidermal growth factor and bovine pituitary extract) and differentiation (azithromycin). Cells were enumerated using a hemocytometer and evaluated for morphology, neutral lipid staining, and lysosome accumulation. RESULTS: Our results demonstrate that pilocarpine and timolol cause a dose-dependent decrease in the survival of IHMGECs. The clinically used concentrations are toxic and lead to cell atrophy, poor adherence, or death. By contrast, drug levels that are known to accumulate within the conjunctiva, adjacent to the meibomian glands, do not influence IHMGEC survival. These latter concentrations also have no effect on IHMGEC proliferation or differentiation, and they do not interfere with the ability of azithromycin to stimulate cellular neutral lipid and lysosome accumulation. This dose of pilocarpine, though, did suppress the epidermal growth factor+bovine pituitary extract-induced proliferation of IHMGECs. CONCLUSIONS: Our results support our hypothesis and demonstrate that these antiglaucoma drugs, pilocarpine and timolol, have direct effects on HMGECs that may influence their morphology, survival, and proliferative capacity.
Purpose: Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α is upregulated in eyes following corneal alkali injury and contributes to corneal and also retinal damage. Prompt TNF-α inhibition by systemic infliximab ameliorates retinal damage and improves corneal wound healing. However, systemic administration of TNF-α inhibitors carries risk of significant complications, whereas topical eye-drop delivery is hindered by poor ocular bioavailability and the need for patient adherence. This study investigates the efficacy of subconjunctival delivery of TNF-α antibodies using a polymer-based drug delivery system (DDS). Methods: The drug delivery system was prepared using porous polydimethylsiloxane/polyvinyl alcohol composite fabrication and loaded with 85 μg of infliximab. Six Dutch-belted pigmented rabbits received ocular alkali burn with NaOH. Immediately after the burn, subconjunctival implantation of anti-TNF-α DDS was performed in three rabbits while another three received sham DDS (without antibody). Rabbits were followed with photography for 3 months. Results: After 3 months, the device was found to be well tolerated by the host and the eyes exhibited less corneal damage as compared to eyes implanted with a sham DDS without drug. The low dose treatment suppressed CD45 and TNF-α expression in the burned cornea and inhibited retinal ganglion cell apoptosis and optic nerve degeneration, as compared to the sham DDS treated eyes. Immunolocalization revealed drug penetration in the conjunctiva, cornea, iris, and choroid, with residual infliximab in the DDS 3 months after implantation. Conclusions: This reduced-risk biologic DDS improves corneal wound healing and provides retinal neuroprotection, and may be applicable not only to alkali burns but also to other inflammatory surgical procedures such as penetrating keratoplasty and keratoprosthesis implantation.