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Christian M. Wertheimer, Carolin Elhardt, Steffen M. Kaminsky, Linh Pham, Qing Pei, Bryan Mendes, Sepideh Afshar, Irene E. Kochevar; Enhancing Rose Bengal-Photosensitized Protein Crosslinking in the Cornea. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(6):1845-1852. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.19-26604.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Rose bengal (RB)-photosensitized protein crosslinking has been proposed for several applications in the eye. This study identifies oxygen-dependent and oxygen-independent mechanistic pathways in cornea for RB-photosensitized crosslinking to enhance its efficiency for ocular treatments.
Rabbit corneas ex vivo were stained with 1 mM RB and irradiated at 532 nm. RB photobleaching, measured by spectrophotometry and linear tensile strength testing, were performed with and without oxygen present. The effects of sodium azide, D2O, arginine, and ascorbate were used to discriminate between mechanisms involving energy transfer (forming singlet oxygen) and electron transfer (forming radical ions). The influence of corneal depth on RB photobleaching was determined using inclined corneal incisions.
RB photobleaching was greater in the presence than the absence of oxygen, enhanced by D2O and partially inhibited by azide, indicating a singlet oxygen pathway. Photobleaching without oxygen was enhanced by arginine and ascorbate and accompanied by a shift in the absorption to shorter wavelengths, suggesting that electron transfer initiates RB photodecomposition. The RB-photosensitized tensile strength increase in air was enhanced by D2O and inhibited by azide. In an O2-free environment, arginine was required for an increase in tensile strength, which matched that attained by irradiation in air without arginine, suggesting an efficient electron transfer pathway. Rapid photobleaching was observed below 80 to 120 μm only when arginine was present.
These results indicate that RB photosensitizes crosslinking in cornea by both singlet oxygen and electron transfer mechanisms and that adding enhancers may increase the efficiency of this treatment.
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