Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a common eye disease. Artificial tears (AT) are used to treat DES, but they are not effective. In this study, we assessed the anti-inflammatory effect of AT containing epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and hyaluronic acid (HA) on DES. Human corneal epithelial cells (HCECs) were used in theWST-8 assay to determine the safe dose of EGCG. Lipopolysaccharide-stimulated HCECs showing inflammation were treated with EGCG/HA. The expression of IL-1ß, IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α was assessed by real- Time PCR and AT physical properties such as the viscosity, osmolarity, and pH were examined. AT containing EGCG and HA were topically administered in a rabbit DES model established by treatment with 0.1% benzalkonium chloride (BAC). Tear secretion was assessed and fluorescein, H&E, and TUNEL staining were performed. Inflammatory cytokine levels in the corneas were also examined. The non- Toxic optimal concentration of EGCG used for the treatment of HCECs in vitro was 10 μg/mL. The expression of several inflammatory genes, including IL-1ß, IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α, was significantly inhibited in inflamed HCECs treated with 10 μg/mL EGCG and 0.1% (w/v) HA (E10/HA) compared to that in inflamed HCECs treated with either EGCG or HA alone. AT containing E10/HA mimic human tears, with similar osmolarity and viscosity and a neutral pH. Fluorescence examination of the ocular surface of mouse eyes showed that HA increased drug retention on the ocular surface. Topical treatment of DES rabbits with AT plus E10/HA increased tear secretion, reduced corneal epithelial damage, and maintained the epithelial layers and stromal structure.Moreover, the corneas of the E10/HA- Treated rabbits showed fewer apoptotic cells, lower inflammation, and decreased IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α levels. In conclusion, we showed that AT plus E10/HA had anti-inflammatory and mucoadhesive properties when used as topical eye drops and were effective for treating DES in rabbits.
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