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Emilia Cantera, Magdalena Cortes, Bjorn Omar Balzamino, Cristina Briamonte, Graziana Esposito, Alessandra Micera; Tear Biomarkers in contact sports. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):3233.
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Repeated head trauma can cause subsequent neurological and brain alterations. Few papers reported some ocular manifested and immediate alterations related to boxing practice. Other repeated head trauma can produce not evident or immediate ocular alterations but chronic or subtle ones. As the eye is an extension of the brain, head traumas should hypothetically have an impact also on whole eye structure and function. Since tear analysis should ascertain the presence of ocular subtle alterations in apparently healthy eyes, we sought to evaluate NGF, VEGF and IL-8 in tears collected from young boxers.
Seventeen young male boxers (19.28±3.58 years old) and 13 sedentary age/sex-matched subjects (controls; 22.33±3.74 years old) were enrolled in the study. All participants underwent a complete ocular examination, including OSDI questionnaire, and were subjected to tear sampling before BUT/Schirmer examination. Boxers also completed a specific questionnaire focused on their boxing activity. Tears were collected through eye-flush technique. Biochemical analysis were quantified by ELISA (NGF) and ELLATM (IL-8 and VEGF), and data were statistically compared to biostrumental ones. Non parametric Mann Whitney and Spearman correlation were performed.
Ocular examination was normal for both boxers and controls. OSDI questionnaire revealed an asymptomatic status (normal).Tear NGF levels were 7.5 times higher in boxers compared to controls (p<0.05), VEGF levels were 1.95 times higher in boxers than controls (p<0.05) and IL-8 levels were found 2.34 times higher in boxers as compared to controls (p<0.05). VEGF and IL-8 correlated positively (rho 0.763, p<0.05) while a negative correlation was observed for NGF and IL-8 (rho -0.593 p<0.05) or NGF and VEGF (rho -0.763 p<0.05 ).
Eyes are delicate structures exposed to direct head trauma in contact sports. The finding of our pilot study revealed that the tear content of NGF, VEGF and IL-8 might be potential candidate biomarker of ocular distress. The significance of this initial ocular finding in young boxers is under investigation. Further studies are required to validate this data in a bigger population.
This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.
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