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Ning Mu, He Wang, Dongyan Chen, Fan Wang, Ling Ji, Can Zhang, Mingxin Li, Peirong Lu; A Novel Rat Model of Dry Eye Induced by Aerosol Exposure of Particulate Matter. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(1):39. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.63.1.39.
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The purpose of this study was to introduce a novel dry eye rat model induced by aerosol exposure of particulate matter (PM).
A total of 30 female Sprague Dawley (SD) rats divided into 3 groups: the control group, the low-level exposed group, and the high-level exposed group. The rats in the experience groups were directly exposed to PM samples in the exposure chamber over 14 days. The clinical observation, including tear volume, corneal fluorescein staining, breakup time (BUT), inflammation index, corneal irregularity score, and corneal confocal microscopy. Eyeballs were collected on day 14 for hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining and PAS staining. TUNEL assay, CD45, and Ki67 immunostaining was performed and corneal ultrastructural changes were detected by electron microscopy. IL-1β, TNF-α, IFN-γ, and NF-κB Western blot analysis were used to observe the possible pathogenesis.
In the PM-treated groups, the number of layers in the corneal epithelium and corneal nerve fiber length were significantly decreased compared with that of the control group. The number of corneal epithelial microvilli and chondriosome/desmosomes were drastically reduced in PM-treated groups. Confocal microscopy and CD45 immunohistochemistry showed inflammatory cell infiltration in the PM-treated groups. PM caused apoptosis of corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells while leading to abnormal epithelial cell proliferation, meanwhile, conjunctival goblet cells in the PM-treated group were also significantly reduced. PM significantly increased the levels of IL-1β, TNF-α, IFN-γ, and p-NF-κB-p65 in the cornea.
Aerosol exposure of PM can reduce the stability of tear film and cause the change of ocular surface, which is similar to the performance of human dry eye, suggesting a novel animal model of dry eye.
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