Effect of Artificial Tear Formulations on the Metabolic Activity of Human Corneal Epithelial Cells after Exposure to Desiccation
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Artificial lipid-containing tear formulations are developed to reduce tear evaporation by the restoration of a deficient tear lipid layer. Artificial tear formulations that prevent cell desiccation will result in ocular surface protection and the maintenance of cell metabolic activity. During dehydration, cells undergo the process of loss of metabolic activity and subsequently cell death. This work describes a method for assessing the efficacy of artificial tear formulations. The metabolic dye (i.e., alamarBlue) changes from a low fluorescent molecule resazurin to a fluorescent molecule resorufin in viable cells. The biological performance of an artificial tear formulation is measured as the ability of the formulation to (a) maintain cell viability and (b) provide cell protection from desiccation. Growth media and saline are used as controls for the cell viability/desiccation tests. Cells are incubated with test solutions for 30 min and then desiccated for 0 or 5 min at 37 °C and 45% relative humidity. Cell metabolic activity after initial exposure and after cell desiccation is then determined. The results show the comparative effects of eye drop formulations on cell metabolic activity and desiccation protection. This method can be used to test dry eye formulations that are designed to treat individuals with evaporative dry eye.
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