The effect of ambient titanium dioxide microparticle exposure to the ocular surface on the expression of inflammatory cytokines in the eye and cervical lymph nodes

Youngsub Eom, Jong Suk Song, Hyun Kyu Lee, Boram Kang, Hyeon Chang Kim, Hyung Keun Lee, Hyo Myung Kim

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PURPOSE. To investigate the ocular immune response following exposure to airborne titanium dioxide (TiO2) microparticles. METHODS. Rats in the TiO2-exposed group (n = 10) were exposed to TiO2 particles for 2 hours twice daily for 5 days, while the controls (n = 10) were not. Corneal staining score and tear lactic dehydrogenase (LDH) activity were measured to evaluate ocular surface damage, serum immunoglobulin (Ig) G and E were assayed by using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and the size of cervical lymph nodes was measured. In addition, the expression of interleukin (IL)-4, IL-17, and interferon (IFN)-γ in the anterior segment of the eyeball and cervical lymph nodes was measured by immunohistochemistry, real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and Western blot analysis. RESULTS. Median corneal staining score (3.0), tear LDH activity (0.24 optical density [OD]), and cervical lymph node size (36.9 mm2) were significantly higher in the TiO2-exposed group than in the control group (1.0, 0.13 OD, and 26.7 mm2, respectively). Serum IgG and IgE levels were found to be significantly elevated in the TiO2-exposed group (P = 0.021 and P = 0.021, respectively). Interleukin 4 expression was increased in the anterior segment of the eyeball and lymph nodes following TiO2 exposure, as measured by immunostaining, real-time RT-PCR, and Western blot. In addition, IL-17 and IFN-γ levels were also increased following TiO2 exposure compared to controls as measured by immunostaining. CONCLUSIONS. Exposure to airborne TiO2 induced ocular surface damage. The Type 2 helper Tcell pathway seems to play a dominant role in the ocular immune response following airborne TiO2 exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6580-6590
Number of pages11
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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