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Eye Sclera

Atropine Treatment on Corneal Epithelial Cells to Study Myopia

Anatomy and Function of the Eye

The eyes are complex organs that use light to send messages to the brain to form images of the world around us. The cornea is the front of the eye through which light first passes. With the assistance of the lens, the cornea focuses light on the retina, the back of the eye. Contained in the retina are specialized cells called photoreceptors, which convert light into signals that are sent to the brain through the optic nerve. The iris (the colored part of the eye) and the pupil (the dark center of the iris) work together to control the amount of light that enters the eye. The white part of the eye is called the sclera and contains fibroblasts that are responsible for secreting extracellular matrix proteins that maintain its structure.

 The Lifeline® catalog includes the following ocular cell types:

Lifeline Corneal Epithelial Cells in Research on Near-sightedness

Atropine is a muscarinic antagonist that is under investigation in children to prevent the progression of near-sightedness or myopia. However, concerns regarding possible cytotoxic effects of atropine on the cornea present a safety obstacle. In a study discussed in this previous blog, Hsiao and colleagues characterized the gene expression changes that occurred in Lifeline scleral fibroblasts following atropine treatment. In a new study, the same group set out to examine the effects of atropine treatment on gene expression in Lifeline corneal epithelial cells.

First, the researchers performed next-generation sequencing to compare gene expression profiles of control corneal epithelial cells, and those treated with 0.003% atropine. Overall, in atropine-treated cells, they found 40 upregulated genes and 60 downregulated genes. Following biological pathway analysis, they found that the atropine-induced dysregulated pathways included activation of protein kinase A and neuroinflammation, as well as downregulation of cell death and apoptosis. KEGG pathway analysis also indicated that atropine disrupted glucagon, estrogen, Ras, insulin, and arachidonic acid signaling. Finally, the authors identified 678 dysregulated miRNAs in atropine-treated corneal epithelial cells.

Together, the results of this study demonstrate that atropine exerts gene expression changes that may help reveal the mechanism by which atropine affects corneal epithelial cells.

Come check out the blog every other week and let us know how you are using Lifeline products in your research. Your published study could be featured next!

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