Corneal Alternations Induced by Topical Application of Benzalkonium Chloride in Rabbit
- 医学院－已发表论文 
Benzalkonium chloride (BAC) is the most common preservative in ophthalmic preparations. Here, we investigated the corneal alternations in rabbits following exposure to BAC. Twenty-four adult male New Zealand albino rabbits were randomly divided into three groups. BAC at 0.01%, 0.05%, or 0.1% was applied twice daily to one eye each of rabbits for 4 days. The contralateral untreated eyes were used as control. Aqueous tear production and fluorescein staining scores of BAC-treated eyes were compared with those of controls. The structure of the central cornea was examined by in vivo confocal microscopy. Expression of mucin-5 subtype AC (MUC5AC) in conjunctiva was detected by immunostainig on cryosections. Corneal barrier function was assessed in terms of permeability to carboxy fluorescein (CF). The distribution and expression of ZO-1, a known marker of tight junction, and reorganization of the perijunctional actomyosin ring (PAMR) were examined by immunofluorescence analysis. Although there were no significant differences between control and BAC-treated eyes in Schirmer scores, corneal fluorescein scores and the number of conjunctival MUC5AC staining cells, in vivo confocal microscopy revealed significant epithelial and stromal defects in all BAC-treated corneas. Moreover, BAC at 0.1% resulted in significant increases in central corneal thickness and endothelial CF permeability, compared with those in control eyes, and endothelial cell damage with dislocation of ZO-1 and disruption of PAMR. Topical application of BAC can quickly impair the whole cornea without occurrence of dry eye. A high concentration of BAC breaks down the barrier integrity of corneal endothelium, concomitant with the disruption of PAMR and remodeling of apical junctional complex in vivo.