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Danny S. Roh, Amanda L. Cook, Steven S. Rhee, Amar Joshi, Regis Kowalski, Deepinder K. Dhaliwal, James L. Funderburgh; DNA Cross-linking, Double-Strand Breaks, and Apoptosis in Corneal Endothelial Cells after a Single Exposure to Mitomycin C. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(11):4837-4843. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.08-2115.
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purpose. To investigate the cellular effects of mitomycin C (MMC) treatment on corneal endothelial (CE) cells at clinically relevant applications and dosages.
methods. Radial and posterior diffusion of MMC was determined by an Escherichia coli growth inhibition bioassay. A modified version of the comet assay (single cell gel electrophoresis) was used to detect DNA cross-linking. Immunostaining detected the nuclear phosphorylated histone variant H2AX (γ-H2AX) indicating DNA double-strand breaks. Apoptosis in MMC-treated cells was detected with annexin V staining.
results. Topical application of 0.02% MMC to intact goat globes resulted in MMC in the CE at 0.37 μg/mL and produced a significant increase in CE DNA cross-linking with as little as 6 seconds of topical MMC treatment. DNA cross-linking was also demonstrated in cultured CE cells by using MMC exposures similar to those detected in CE of intact eyes. Such MMC treatment of CE produced elevated and persistent γ-H2AX-positive cells indicative of DNA double-strand breaks. Similarly, there was an increase in the proportion of apoptotic CE cells, evidenced by positive annexin V staining.
conclusions. The results demonstrate that exposure to MMC at times and concentrations commonly used in refractive surgery produces cross-linking of corneal endothelial DNA, persistent DNA damage, and endothelial death via apoptosis. Current practices of MMC application during refractive surgeries may increase the potential for long-term and permanent deleterious effects on the health of the corneal endothelium.
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