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Mihir Shah, Maria C. Edman, Srikanth Reddy Janga, Frances Yarber, Zhen Meng, Wannita Klinngam, Jonathan Bushman, Tao Ma, Siyu Liu, Stan Louie, Arjun Mehta, Chuanqing Ding, J. Andrew MacKay, Sarah F. Hamm-Alvarez; Rapamycin Eye Drops Suppress Lacrimal Gland Inflammation In a Murine Model of Sjögren's Syndrome. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(1):372-385. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.16-19159.
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To evaluate the efficacy of topical rapamycin in treating autoimmune dacryoadenitis in a mouse model of Sjögren's syndrome.
We developed rapamycin in a poly(ethylene glycol)-distearoyl phosphatidylethanolamine (PEG-DSPE) micelle formulation to maintain solubility. Rapamycin or PEG-DSPE eye drops (vehicle) were administered in a well-established Sjögren's syndrome disease model, the male nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice, twice daily for 12 weeks starting at 8 weeks of age. Mouse tear fluid was collected and tear Cathepsin S, a putative tear biomarker for Sjögren's syndrome, was measured. Lacrimal glands were retrieved for histological evaluation, and quantitative real-time PCR of genes associated with Sjögren's syndrome pathogenesis. Tear secretion was measured using phenol red threads, and corneal fluorescein staining was used to assess corneal integrity.
Lymphocytic infiltration of lacrimal glands from rapamycin-treated mice was significantly (P = 0.0001) reduced by 3.8-fold relative to vehicle-treated mice after 12 weeks of treatment. Rapamycin, but not vehicle, treatment increased tear secretion and decreased corneal fluorescein staining after 12 weeks. In rapamycin-treated mice, Cathepsin S activity was significantly reduced by 3.75-fold in tears (P < 0.0001) and 1.68-fold in lacrimal gland lysates (P = 0.003) relative to vehicle-treated mice. Rapamycin significantly altered the expression of several genes linked to Sjögren's syndrome pathogenesis, including major histocompatibility complex II, TNF-α, IFN-γ, and IL-12a, as well as Akt3, an effector of autophagy.
Our findings suggest that topical rapamycin reduces autoimmune-mediated lacrimal gland inflammation while improving ocular surface integrity and tear secretion, and thus has potential for treating Sjögren's syndrome–associated dry eye.
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