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Deshea L. Harris, Takefumi Yamaguchi, Pedram Hamrah; A Novel Murine Model of Radiation Keratopathy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(10):3889-3896. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-24567.
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Radiation therapy results in severe chronic keratopathy and dry eye disease. We developed a novel mouse model for radiation keratopathy to allow future mechanistic studies.
Six to 8-week-old BALB/c mice underwent sublethal irradiation to the head only from a Cesium-137 irradiator, 2 × 550 rad, 3-hours apart. Irradiated mice were clinically evaluated by corneal fluorescein staining (CFS) at 1, 2, and 3 months, after which corneas were excised and immunofluorescence histochemistry performed with anti-CD45, anti-MHC class II, and anti-β-tubulin antibodies.
The survival rate after irradiation was 100%. Mice demonstrated significant CFS and hair loss around the eyes. Corneal nerve density decreased in the central and peripheral corneas (P < 0.01) at 2 and 3 months, respectively. CD45+ immune cell densities increased in the central and peripheral corneas (P < 0.005, P < 0.001) at 2 and 3 months, respectively. MHC class II, a sign of antigen presenting cell activation, significantly increased after irradiation in the central and peripheral corneas at 2 and 3 months (P = 0.02). A strong inverse correlation was noted between decreased corneal nerves and increase in CD45+ cells in the central cornea at 2 (P = 0.04, r = −0.89) and 3 months (P = 0.03, r = −0.91) after irradiation.
We present a model of radiation keratopathy and demonstrate significant nerve loss and increase in immune cell influx and activation within months. This model will enable future investigations to understand the effects of radiation therapy on the eye, and to study mechanisms of neuro-immune crosstalk in the cornea.
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