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Joo Youn Oh, Ji Min Yu, Jung Hwa Ko; Analysis of Ethanol Effects on Corneal Epithelium. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(6):3852-3856. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-11717.
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Ethanol is widely used in ocular surface surgeries and for the treatment of corneal diseases. However, ethanol is a toxic agent that is related to the development of a number of alcohol-related diseases. Despite the common use of ethanol for therapeutic purposes in ophthalmology, effects of ethanol on the ocular surface have been poorly defined. Hence, we performed this study to investigate effects of ethanol on corneal epithelium from various aspects.
We exposed corneal epithelial cells in culture to different concentrations of ethanol for 30 seconds and evaluated the cells for toxicity, survival, and expression of cell-specific markers and inflammatory cytokines at 24, 48, and 72 hours after ethanol exposure.
We found that ethanol markedly decreased the viability of cells in a concentration-dependent manner by causing cell lysis, suppressing proliferation, and inducing apoptosis. Also, expression of corneal epithelial cell–specific markers, both stem cell and differentiation markers, was significantly reduced by ethanol exposure. Expression of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines was highly increased in corneal epithelial and stromal cells that were exposed to ethanol.
Together, data suggest that brief exposure of the corneal surface to ethanol may have long-term effects by disrupting the integrity of corneal epithelium and generating inflammation, both of which are precursors to a number of ocular surface diseases.
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