Purpose: To investigate the efficacy of a topical anti–tumor necrosis factor-α agent, infliximab, in a mouse model of experimental dry eye (EDE).
Methods: EDE was induced in C57BL/6 mice, with or without topical treatment consisting of balanced salt solution or 0.001%, 0.01%, or 0.1% infliximab solutions. Tear volume and corneal smoothness were measured on days 5 and 10 after treatment. Levels of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-17, and interferon γ (IFN-γ) were measured in the conjunctiva using a multiplex immunobead assay 10 days after treatment. Periodic acid-Schiff staining, immunohistochemistry, and flow cytometry were also performed 10 days after treatment.
Results: Mice treated with 0.01% or 0.1% infliximab showed a significant improvement in tear volume and corneal smoothness compared with controls. The 0.01% and 0.1% infliximab-treated groups showed decreased levels of conjunctival IL-1β, IL-6, IL-17, and interferon γ and a decreased staining intensity of tumor necrosis factor-α. The density of conjunctival goblet cells was higher, whereas the number of CD4+CXCR3+ T cells was lower, in the 0.01% and 0.1% infliximab-treated groups compared with the EDE and balanced salt solution control groups. However, there was no significant difference in all parameters between the 0.001% infliximab-treated group and control group.
Conclusions: Topical application of infliximab can improve tear production and ocular surface irregularity, decrease inflammatory cytokines and cells on the ocular surface, and increase conjunctival goblet cell density. These results suggest that topical infliximab eye drops at a concentration of 0.01% and 0.1% may be useful for the treatment of dry eye disease.