Academic Editors: Shikun He and Graham Pawelec
Background: Benzalkonium chloride (BAK)-containing antiglaucoma therapies alter the ocular surface over the long term. We used an in vitro scraping model to compare the effects of preserved and unpreserved topical commercial prostaglandins (PGs) in a wound-healing model. Methods: Standardized mechanical scraping was performed in confluent immortalized human corneal/conjunctival epithelial cell layers. Cytotoxicity, cell migration and proliferation, as well as the percentage of closure, were analyzed 2h and 1/2/3/6 days after a 30-min exposure to 1/10 dilutions in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) used also as control, BAK solutions at concentrations ranging from 0.0001% to 0.1%, latanoprost-0.02%BAK, travoprost-0.015%BAK, bimatoprost-0.005%BAK, BAK-free Tafluprost, latanoprost in cationic emulsion, and travoprost (Polyquad® and SofZia®). Results: PG eyedrop preparations with BAK preservative delayed corneal healing, which is primarily related to the presence of BAK, in a dose-dependent manner, especially at day 1, as evidenced through actin disorganization and decreased Ki-67-positive cell numbers. The PGs (BAK-free tafluprost, latanoprost in cationic emulsion,travoprost (Polyquad® and SofZia®)) maintained a normal healing process with results similar to those of control. Conjunctiva-derived cell layers healed more slowly than corneal cell layers and were more sensitive in in vitro cytotoxicity tests. Conclusions: This novel in vitro scraping model mimics the damaged ocular surface epithelia observed in glaucoma patients affected by ocular surface disease, such as toxic-induced dry eye (TIDE) and offers a tool to assess the potential cytotoxic effects of PG formulations with or without BAK.