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Purpose: This study tested whether controlled drying of the cornea increases vector absorption in mouse and rabbit corneas in vivo and human cornea ex vivo, and studied the effects of corneal drying on gene transfer, structure and inflammatory reaction in the mouse cornea in vivo.

Methods: Female C57 black mice and New Zealand White rabbits were used for in vivo studies. Donor human corneas were used for ex vivo experiments. A hair dryer was used for drying the corneas after removing corneal epithelium by gentle scraping. The corneas received no, once, twice, thrice, or five times warm air for 10 s with a 5 s interval after each 10 s hair dryer application. Thereafter, balanced salt solution (BSS) was topically applied immediately on the cornea for 2 min using a custom-cloning cylinder. The absorbed BSS was quantified using Hamilton microsyringes. The adenoassociated virus 8 (AAV8) vector (1.1×108 genomic copies/μl) expressing marker gene was used to study the effect of corneal drying on gene transfer. Animals were sacrificed on day 14 and gene expression was analyzed using commercial staining kit. Morphological changes and infiltration of inflammatory cells were examined with H & E staining and immunocytochemistry.

Results: Mice, rabbit or human corneas subjected to no or 10 s drying showed 6%–8% BSS absorption whereas 20, 30, or 50 s corneal drying showed significantly high 14%–19% (pin vivowith mild-to-moderate changes in corneal morphology. The 30 s of drying also showed significantly (pin vivowithout jeopardizing corneal morphology whereas 10 or 20 s drying showed moderate degree of gene transfer with no altered corneal morphology. Corneas that underwent 50 s drying showed high CD11b-positive cells (p

Conclusions: Controlled corneal drying with hair dryer increases vector absorption significantly. The dispensing of efficacious AAV serotype into cornea with optimized minimally invasive topical application technique could provide high and targeted expression of therapeutic genes in the stroma in vivo without causing significant side effects.


This article was originally published in Molecular Vision, volume 16, in 2010.


Molecular Vision

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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