Based on previous findings that ozone can induce an inflammatory response in the ocular surface of an animal model and in cultured human conjunctival epithelial cells, we investigated whether exposure to ozone exacerbates symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. We evaluated the effects of exposure to ozone on conjunctival chemosis, conjunctival injection, corneal and conjunctival fluorescein staining scores, production of inflammatory cytokines in tears, and aqueous tear production in a mouse model of allergic conjunctivitis. To validate our in vivo results, we used interleukin (IL)-1α-pretreated conjunctival epithelial cells as an in vitro substitute for the mouse model. We evaluated whether exposure to ozone increased the inflammatory response and altered oxidative status and mitochondrial function in IL-1α-pretreated conjunctival epithelial cells. In the in vivo study, ozone induced increases in conjunctival chemosis, conjunctival injection, corneal and conjunctival fluorescein staining scores, and production of inflammatory cytokines, accompanied by a decrease in tear volume. In the in vitro study, exposure to ozone led to additional increases in IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α mRNA levels, which were already induced by treatment with IL-1α. Ozone did not induce any changes in cell viability. Pretreatment with IL-1α increased the expression of manganese superoxide dismutase, and exposure to ozone led to additional increments in the expression of this antioxidant enzyme. Ozone did not induce any changes in mitochondrial activity or expression of mitochondrial enzymes and proteins related to mitochondrial function, with the exception of phosphor-mammalian target of rapamycin. Treatment with butylated hydroxyanisole, a free radical scavenger, attenuated the ozone-induced increases in IL-6 expression in IL-1α-pretreated conjunctival epithelial cells. Therefore, we conclude that exposure to ozone exacerbates the detrimental effects on the integrity of the ocular surface caused by conjunctival allergic reactions, and further increases the inflammatory response in IL-1α-pretreated conjunctival epithelial cells.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2013R1A1A2058907). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The authors thank Dong-Su Jang for his excellent support with medical illustrations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)