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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Modification of Pseudomonas aeruginosa interactions with corneal epithelial cells by human tear fluid.

Both cytotoxic and invasive strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa can damage corneal epithelial cells in vitro, but neither can infect healthy corneas in vivo. We tested the hypothesis that whole human tear fluid can protect corneal epithelia against P. aeruginosa virulence mechanisms. Cultured corneal epithelial cells were inoculated with 10(6) CFU of one of 10 strains of P. aeruginosa (five cytotoxic, five invasive)/ml with or without reflex tear fluid collected from the conjunctival sacs of human volunteers. Cytotoxicity was assessed by observation of trypan blue staining and measurement of lactate dehydrogenase release; invasion was quantified by using gentamicin survival assays. Tear fluid retarded growth of only 50% of the P. aeruginosa strains (three of five invasive strains, two of five cytotoxic strains) yet protected corneal cells against invasion by or cytotoxicity of 9 of 10 strains. The only strain resistant to the tear cytoprotective effects was susceptible to tear bacteriostatic activity. Dilution of tear fluid threefold significantly reduced cytoprotection, while bacteriostatic activity prevailed with dilutions beyond 100-fold. Sulfacetamide (1 mg/ml) with bacteriostatic activity matching that of tear fluid was less cytoprotective than tear fluid (80% protection with tear fluid, 48% with sulfacetamide). Video microscopy revealed bacterial chain formation in both tear fluid and sulfacetamide, but tear fluid also blocked bacterial swimming motility. After prolonged tear contact, bacteria regained normal growth rates, swimming motility, and cytotoxic activity, suggesting a breakdown of protective tear factors. Boiled tear fluid lost bacteriostatic activity and effects on bacterial motility but retained cytoprotective function. These results suggest that human tear fluid can protect corneal epithelial cells against P. aeruginosa virulence mechanisms in a manner not dependent upon bacteriostatic activity or effects on bacterial motility. Whether overlapping tear film components are involved in these defense functions is to be determined.[1]


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