PURPOSE. The present study was designed to investigate the role of ocular surface glycocalyx and mucins in graft versus host disease (GVHD)-associated dry eye. The ameliorative effect of topical rebamipide, a mucin secretagogue, on GVHD-associated dry eye was also tested.
METHODS. A mouse model of allogeneic transplantation was used to induce ocular GVHD with C57BL/6 as donors and B6D2F1 as recipient mice. Phenol red thread method and fluorescein staining was used to quantify tear secretion and corneal keratopathy. At 8 weeks after the allogeneic transplantation, corneas were harvested to perform glycocalyx staining and confocal microscopy. Goblet cell staining was performed using periodic acid Schiff’s staining. Corneal and tear film levels of Mucin 1, 4, 16, 19, and 5AC were quantified using ELISA and real-time PCR. Rebamipide was applied topically twice daily to mice eyes.
RESULTS. Allogeneic transplantation resulted in ocular GVHD-associated dry eye characterized by a significant decrease in tear film volume and the onset of corneal keratopathy. Ocular GVHD caused a significant decrease in the area and thickness of corneal glycocalyx. A significant decrease in the goblet cells was also noted. A significant decrease in mucin 4 and 5AC levels was also observed. Topical treatment with rebamipide partially attenuated ocular GVHD-mediated decrease in tear film volume and significantly reduced the severity of corneal keratopathy.
CONCLUSIONS. Ocular GVHD has detrimental impact on ocular surface glycocalyx and mucins. Rebamipide, a mucin secretagogue, partially prevents ocular GVHD-associated decrease in tear film and reduces the severity of corneal keratopathy.
Shamloo K, Barbarino A, Alfuraih S, Sharma A. Graft versus host disease-associated dry eye: role of ocular surface mucins and the effect of rebamipide, a mucin secretagogue. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2019;60(14):4511–4519. https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.19-27843
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