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Francoise Brignole-Baudouin, Sophie Achard, Charles Persoz, Alice Emptoz, Luisa Riancho, Nathalie Seta, Christophe Baudouin; Effect of Formaldehyde On Corneal Epithelial Cells In An Air-Liquid Culture Model. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):1957.
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Dry eye disease and ocular allergy are growing ocular surface diseases in occidental countries. Formaldehyde (FA) is the major pollutant of indoor air and its role on the ocular surface is still poorly understood. Our aim was to study the inflammatory effect of FA on the expression of the chemokines CXCL8/IL-8, CCL2/MCP-1 and adhesion molecule CD54/ICAM-1 by human corneal epithelial cells in an air-liquid culture.
Human corneal cells were grown until subconfluence on transwell inserts before being placed in exposure chambers (Vitrocell®). Four conditions were tested for 30 min: standard medium without- (negative control) or with TNF (2ng/ml, positive control) or after removal of the supernatant, in air or FA (50µg/m3, close to indoor environmental levels). Then, the cells were returned to standard medium for 24h. Protein and LDH activity assessments, CXCL8/IL-8 and CCL2/MCP-1 ELISA assays in the supernatant, the expression of ICAM1 by flow cytometry and immunofluorescence stainings on the inserts were performed. ANOVA with Bonferroni test was used to compare the conditions between them.
The LDH activity significantly increased when cells were exposed to air or FA with FA values higher than those in air. Air did not induce chemokine secretion in contrast to FA and TNF (with FA<TNF). CD54, strongly induced by TNF, showed an increasing trend with FA but without statistical significance. The ICAM-1 immunostainings confirmed these observations and showed apoptosis patterns in air and formaldehyde.
We showed with this new air-liquid cell culture model, which better mimicks in vivo atmospheric exposure of the cornea to pollutants, that formaldehyde alters cell viability, induces chemokine production and apoptosis and could therefore actively participate to the development of some ocular surface diseases.
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