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Zhirong Lin, Huan He, Tong Zhou, Xiaochen Liu, Yihui Wang, Hui He, Huping Wu, Zuguo Liu; A Mouse Model of Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency Induced by Topical Medication With the Preservative Benzalkonium Chloride. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(9):6314-6325. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.12-10725.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To develop a mouse model of limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) by topical administration of benzalkonium chloride (BAC).
BAC solutions (0%–0.5%) were applied to the mouse ocular surface for 4 weeks. Corneal neovascularization, inflammation, and epithelial status were observed under slit-lamp microscope. The eyeball and ocular surface tissues were collected at 4 and 12 weeks and labeled with a series of antibodies. Limbal structure was evaluated by light and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Corneal impression cytology was performed at 12 weeks, and specimens were labeled with periodic acid Schiff (PAS) reagents.
BAC (0.5%) four times per day for 28 days successfully induced the typical manifestations of LSCD, including corneal neovascularization, severe inflammation in the stroma, and diffuse epithelial defect (P < 0.001). Conjunctival epithelium markers K19 and K13 were positive on the corneal surface. Expression of the putative limbal stem cell markers P63 and ABCG2 was abolished in the limbal epithelium. β-catenin was negative in the basal layer. TEM revealed the irregular basement membrane and the loss of stem cell–specific ultrastructure in the limbal basal epithelium. In the 0.5% BAC group, goblet cells could not be observed on day 28 but emerged after the cessation of BAC, and remained over the cornea after 8 weeks. K13-positive cells were still present over the cornea with the loss of K12.
Topical administration of BAC at high concentration and frequency in mouse induces ocular surface changes resembling those of LSCD in humans, representing a novel model of LSCD.
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