May 2004
Volume 45, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   May 2004
Conjunctival Cytokine Expression in Symptomatic Moderate Dry Eye Subjects
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • S. Narayanan
    College of Optometry, Univ of Houston, Houston, TX
  • W.L. Miller
    College of Optometry, Univ of Houston, Houston, TX
  • A.M. McDermott
    College of Optometry, Univ of Houston, Houston, TX
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  S. Narayanan, None; W.L. Miller, None; A.M. McDermott, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  NIH Grant EY13175; American Optometric Foundation Ezell Fellowship; Univ of Houston: VRSG
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2004, Vol.45, 86. doi:
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      S. Narayanan, W.L. Miller, A.M. McDermott; Conjunctival Cytokine Expression in Symptomatic Moderate Dry Eye Subjects . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2004;45(13):86.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract: : Purpose: Recent research suggests an inflammatory basis for the pathogenesis of dry eye disease. We investigated conjunctival epithelial cytokine expression in normal and moderate dry eye subjects and studied the ability of IL–1ß to modulate cytokine expression in cultured conjunctival epithelial cells. Methods: A scoring system based subjective ocular irritation symptom evaluation was performed, and tear osmolality and fluorescein tear break–up times (TBUT) determined in 5 normal (age 33.2±3.8 yrs) and 5 moderate dry eye subjects (age 43.8±4.4 yrs). Tear fluid and conjunctival impression cytology (CIC) specimens were obtained from all subjects. EIA was used to detect the presence of IL–1ß in tear fluid. RT–PCR was performed to detect expression of ß–actin, IL–1ß, IL–6, IL–8, GRO–ß, ICAM–1, TRAIL and Ephrin A5 in CIC samples and in a human conjunctival epithelial cell (CEC) line (IOBA–NHC; n =2) and primary cultured human CECs (n=2) exposed to 10 ng/ml IL–1ß for 6 hours. Results: Dry eye subjects had a significantly higher symptom score (44.2±5.3 vs. 23.6±3.4 points; p=0.011), higher osmolality (302±8.8 vs. 269.4±3.7 mOsm/kg; p = 0.008) and reduced TBUT (5.4±2.1 vs. 13.4±2.2 seconds; p=0.042) compared to normal subjects. IL–1ß protein was not detected in the tear fluid of any subject. Analysis of CIC samples showed that ß–actin and TRAIL mRNA were constitutively expressed, whereas IL–1ß, IL–6 and GRO–ß were not present. Weak expression of IL–8 (2 normal, 4 dry eye), ICAM–1 (4 normal, 4 dry eye) and Ephrin A5 (1 normal, 2 dry eye) was observed. IL–1ß upregulated the expression of IL–1ß, IL–6, IL–8, GRO–ß and ICAM–1 in CECs in culture, while the expression of Ephrin A5 and TRAIL was not altered. Conclusions: The significant degree of ocular irritation in moderate dry eye subjects suggests inflammatory damage, though there was no major difference in ocular surface cytokine expression between the two groups. While IL–1ß modulated the expression of various cytokines in cultured CEC, its absence in tear fluid and CIC samples suggests that IL–1ß does not play a role in moderate dry eye. The results imply that the pathogenesis of moderate dry eye involves other inflammatory pathways.

Keywords: cornea: tears/tear film/dry eye • conjunctiva • inflammation 

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