Purpose: To investigate the efficacy of topical application of 3% diquafosol sodium (DQS) and tocopherol (TCP) acetate mixtures in a mouse model of experimental dry eye (EDE).
Methods: After exposure to desiccating stress for 5 days, eye drops consisting of 3% DQS alone, 0.01% TCP alone, or 3% DQS and 0.005% or 0.01% TCP mixture were applied for the treatment of EDE. Tear volume, tear film break-up time (TBUT), corneal fluorescein staining scores (CFSS), and tear film lipid layer grades (TFLLG) were measured at 0, 5 and 10 days after treatment. The 2′,7′-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate assay (DCFDA) for reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for malondialdehyde (MDA), and flow cytometry for CD4 + interferon (IFN)-γ+ T cells were evaluated on the ocular surface at 10 days after treatment. In addition, levels of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and chemokine CC motif ligand 4 (CCL4) in the conjunctiva were measured using a multiplex immunobead assay, and conjunctival goblet cells were counted by periodic acid-Schiff staining at 10 days after treatment.
Results: Both the TCP mixture groups indicated a significant improvement in TBUT, ROS production, and MDA concentrations compared to those in the DQS alone group. Furthermore, the 0.01% TCP mixture group also showed higher tear film lipid layer grades and conjunctival goblet cell density and lower corneal fluorescein staining scores, number of CD4 + IFN-γ+ T cells, and levels of TNF-α, IL-1β, and CCL4 than the DQS alone group (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Application of eye drops containing the mixture of DQS and TCP could stabilize the tear film lipid layer, improve TBUT and corneal epithelial damages, decrease ROS production, inflammatory molecules, and T cells, and increase conjunctival goblet cell density on the ocular surface. Topical DQS and TCP mixtures may have a greater therapeutic effect on clinical signs, oxidative damage, and inflammation of dry eye than DQS eye drops.