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A New Nonhuman Primate Model of Severe Dry Eye

Qin, Yi MD; Tan, Xiaobo MD, PhD; Zhang, Yingnan MD, PhD; Jie, Ying MD, PhD; Labbe, Antoine MD, PhD; Pan, Zhiqiang MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000000085
Basic Investigation

Purpose: The aim of this study was to establish a new rhesus monkey model of severe dry eye.

Methods: A total of 8 rhesus monkeys were used for the study. Four monkeys had their main lacrimal gland and nictitating membrane surgically removed (group 1). Another 4 monkeys had a similar surgery with further application of 50% trichloroacetic acid on the bulbar conjunctiva (group 2). The ocular surface was evaluated before and after the surgery (1, 4, 8, 12, and 24 weeks) using Schirmer-1 test, corneal fluorescein staining, and the lissamine green test. Conjunctival impression cytology was also performed before and 24 weeks after the surgery. Finally, the cornea and the conjunctiva were evaluated using light microscopy.

Results: A significant decrease in tear secretion was observed in all operated eyes. Schirmer test data measured were ≤4 mm in all the operated eyes. Slit-lamp examination also revealed abnormal staining in all the operated eyes that remained stable until the end of the experiment. In group 2, corneal fluorescein staining and lissamine green test values were always ≥5 (max 12) and ≥4 (max 9), respectively. Impression cytology specimens of both the treated groups showed conjunctival squamous metaplasia and a decreased number of goblet cells. Under light microscopy, the corneal epithelium appeared irregular with edematous basal epithelial cells. The conjunctiva showed a decreased goblet cell density with infiltration of inflammatory cells.

Conclusions: Complete removal of the principal lacrimal gland and nictitating membrane associated with the application of 50% trichloroacetic acid on the conjunctiva could induce severe dry eye in rhesus monkeys.

*Beijing Tongren Eye Center, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing Ophthalmology and Visual Science Key Lab, Beijing, China;

Department of Ophthalmology, Quinze-Vingts National Ophthalmology Hospital, Paris and Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University, Versailles, France; and

INSERM, U968, UPMC Univ Paris 06, UMR S 968, Institut de la Vision, CNRS, UMR 7210, Paris, France.

Reprints: Zhiqiang Pan, Beijing Tongren Eye Center, Beijing Tongren Hospital, 1# Dong Jiao Min Xiang, Beijing 100730, China (e-mail:

Supported by the Beijing Health Systems High-level Health and Technical Talent Training Plan (2009-2-05) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, project No. 30801264.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Received November 14, 2013

Accepted January 07, 2014

Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.