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Effect of UV exposure on conjunctival fibroblasts in normal and hyperosmolar conditions

Poster Details

First Author: C.O'Donnell UK

Co Author(s):    T. Ipek   A. Hartwig   J. Wolffsohn              

Abstract Details


The relationship between dry eye disease and UV exposure is not fully understood. Patients who suffer from dry eye disease may be more susceptible to the harmful effects of UV. This study aimed to observe the effect of UV radiation on conjunctival cells with induced hyperosmolar stress in vitro.


Optegra Eye Sciences, Optegra, Birmingham Eye Hospital, Aston University Campus, UK.


Porcine conjunctival fibroblasts were cultured in two different media conditions, supplemented medium (DMEM, 10% Fetal Bovine Serum, 1% L-glutamine and 1% Penicillin-Streptomycin) and NaCl-induced hyperosmolar supplemented medium as a surrogate for dry eye. Cells were then exposed to 10 minutes of UV radiation (wavelength band cut-off 340-390nm). Cell viability was assessed by MTT assay after 24 hours.


Cellular viability was significantly reduced by the UV exposure and this reduction worsened with hyperosmolar stress. The viability of conjunctival fibroblasts within the hyperosmolar conditions at 370nm was significantly reduced compared to those cultured in the normal media (p=0.02). The cell viability was reduced by 25% ± 7% (p <0.05) in the hyperosmolar media, compared to without UV exposure at the 24-hour time point.


These results suggest that UV light can adversely affect cellular viability, causing more damage in hyperosmolar stress conditions. Hence, ocular surface cells of dry eye patients might be more sensitive to UV light effects due to the increased osmolarity in the tear film. Further studies to explore possible associations between dry eye and exposure to UV are indicated.

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